Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
Inspired by the homeowners’ love of English gardens as well as their experiences abroad, designer Daniel Keeley creates an outdoor space with plenty of room for both the feet and the eyes to roam
Globally inspired is not just a design term, but rather a way of life for Fayetteville homeowners Shizuko and Scott Price. “We lived as expatriates moving nine times in 23 years, and we never had a garden of scale,” Scott says of the couple’s lifestyle prior to moving to northwest Arkansas. “Creating an outdoor living space [where] we could spend time relaxing and entertaining was a new experience.” Shortly after moving to the area and settling into their home, the couple called on local designer Daniel Keeley to help them create a refined and personalized garden that would, in many ways, echo ones they had seen while living and traveling abroad. Read on to see how it took shape.
Inspired by the English
“We have traveled the world and particularly enjoy the colorful and mixed foliage of English gardens,” Scott says. Because of this fondness, the often-acclaimed, iconic English garden became a model for the Price’s outdoor area. “The thing with an English garden is you have a few rigid features but the overall feel is fluffy,” Keeley notes. To convey this, classic structures and evergreen plantings were accented with inviting furnishings and lush colorful blooms.
“They are on two lots at the end of a cul-de-sac, so it seems like you’re not even in a neighborhood,” Keeley says of the Price’s property. This expanse allowed for outstanding views from the home’s existing back terrace while also giving them room to build a pavilion that would offer additional space for entertaining. This approach keeps with the English style, which often includes multiple structures or tucked away places for observation and enjoyment.
Keeley worked with builder John Olson to update the back terrace and build the new pavilion. “They brought me a magazine clipping for the pavilion, and I tweaked it to make it work for them,” Keeley says of the sophisticated freestanding structure, which is located at the base of the terrace’s steps. The adjustments included design details as well as several amenities that make the space usable almost year-round. For example, the least visible corner of the pavilion houses a wall-mounted fan, while hard-wired heaters are tucked into the rafters. Additionally, a chandelier hangs overhead, not only providing a sense of interior style but also adding to the ambience. In much the same manner, a large mirror over the fireplace opens up the space and lends flair to the room.
As mentioned, the terrace area, which includes an entrance to the home’s living room, was also reworked. “The existing space was shallow,” Keeley notes. To give the Prices more room and to create a sense of grandeur, he added a stone fireplace, built a set of stairs that lead down to the pavilion area, and resurfaced the floors. Outdoor furniture that has as much character and comfort as the pieces you would expect to find indoors, softens the look and makes the terrace a place where the couple wants to spend time. “Although the fireplaces and pavilion were built nine years after the house, Keeley and his team ensured the design and materials used created a sense of continuity. They look as if they were built at the same time,” Scott notes.
In addition to these living spaces, the Prices also relayed to Keeley their desire for a dramatic gated entry to the garden. Matching the stone on the home’s exterior, he designed two large columns that anchor a double gate. “We needed to create a double gate for functionality; it allows a lawnmower to easily go from one side of the home to the other,” Keeley says of the equally practical and attractive addition. The arched gate also allows for a lantern, which matches the ones seen at the home’s front entry. The structure will eventually be home to blooming vines as well.
Aside from the custom structures, the garden features a number of personalized plantings. For example, Shizuko, who is of Japanese descent, loves flowering cherry trees, which are popular in Asian as well as American gardens. As a nod to her heritage, Daniel incorporated ‘Akebono’ cherry trees along the outside perimeter of the garden’s fence. At the base of the garden, pink begonias steal the show with their splash of cheerful color that will endure as the seasons change.
Additionally, lilac is one of Shizuko’s favorite shrubs. To incorporate this fragrant plant, Daniel created a miniature allée using six ‘Miss Kim’ lilacs. As the Prices descend from the back terrace to the pavilion they can take in their sweet scent.
While inspiration may have come afar, the Prices feel right at home in the updated outdoor living area. “The two of us relax by sitting and reading by the open fireplace and have used the dining area in the pavilion regularly. It’s a favorite for early spring and late fall,” Scott concludes.
Daniel’s Five Elements of an English Garden
1/ Divide and Conquer
Separate your overall garden into several, individual destinations or “rooms” and link them with a series of pathways that beckon visitors to explore.
2/ Plant Loose Drifts of Color
Combine billowing drifts of annual and perennial flowering plants to achieve that romantic, classic look that stands out in English gardens.
3/ Anchor with Evergreens
Tame the looser plantings (noted in number two) and provide interesting visual contrast with clipped evergreen hedges and individual specimens.
4/ Bring on the Roses
No English garden is complete without roses! Don’t be intimidated; if hybrid tea roses seem like too much work, go for a simple climbing variety that will continue to bloom again and again.
5/ Add Ornamentation
Create an eye-catching focal point by placing a garden ornament, such as a statue, fountain, or bench at the end of a prominent vista within your garden.
Design Daniel Keeley, DK Design, (479) 443-9002, (501) 613-7660, dkdesignoutdoor.com
Contractor—garden structures John’s Repair Service & Remodeling, Pea Ridge, (479) 451-0819
Lighting, mirrors, outdoor furniture, and plantings DK Design, (479) 443-9002, (501) 613-7660, dkdesignoutdoor.com