Well, the progress continues at the Live Outside the Box House, my home remodel experiment! Thanks to dry weather over the past month, we have continued to make headway in the garden.
The boxwood hedges that surround the front garden have been installed and have really helped create the feeling of an outdoor room that I wanted for the front of the house. The hedges will be kept low…basically even with the tops of the brick pillars that flank the front walk…and give me just enough privacy and seperation from the street to feel comfortable spending time here.
The hedges also serve as a double-sided backdrop. Plantings on both the inside and outside of the hedge will stand out bettter against their dark green leaves.
The front lawn has also been installed, as has the steel edging which seperates it from the planting beds. The lawn is fescue, which I like because it will remain mostly green all year round. It is a cooler-weather grass that requires some extra water to keep it thriving in these late-summer months, but this is the only turf grass I will have in my garden, so it is worth a little extra TLC to me to have it lush and green throughout the year. Plus, the front of the house has a mixture of sun and shade, and fescue is really the only turf grass that will tolerate the shadier areas.
On either side of the front door, I have designed tiny parterre gardens out of dwarf English boxwoods. These create a nice view from inside the house, where they are especially visible since the floors inside are elevated above ground level outside. These little hedges continue the “X” motif I established with my stair railing out back and will play host to plantings that will change seasonally. They will also receive some dramatic, over-the-top centerpieces…stay tuned!
Hedges, hedges and more hedges! Huge 8-foot hollies have also arrived and will form a tall hedge along one side of the garden. Since my house is on a corner, I am trying to create as much privacy as I can, so I can enjoy spending leisure time in the garden. This hedge will eventually give me total privacy on this side of the house while being softer and friendlier than a privacy fence or wall.
Wiring for some of the landscape lighting has also gone in. This particular lighting, known as ‘moonlighting’, is one of my favorite aspects of a nighttime garden. Once installed, the lights will cast a gentle glow down through the leaves of the larger trees in the garden, producing beautiful shadows and giving the effect of a full moon!
Around back, a sea of weed barrier surrounds the carport/cabana. It awaits several tons of pea gravel which will serve as the surface for all the different spaces in this area, including living and dining areas and a vegetable garden. I am a big fan of pea gravel, as it gives the charm of a european garden, but can also feel right at home in a modern setting. Since I want my home and garden to be a blend of contemporary and traditional, it is the perfect choice. It is also very affordable, easy to adapt to slightly sloped areas and permeable, which helps conserve water within the garden.
As you can see, garden furniture has started to pile up in the carport, and I can hardly wait to get it placed and start using it!
In the Cabana/Garden Room, the built-in daybed is complete, painted and ready to receive custom cushions covered in outdoor fabric! I designed 3 large drawers into the daybed to provide storage for items like mosquito repellent and throws for chilly evenings. This room is coming along and will soon receive additional furniture and maybe a minifridge!
Speaking of furniture, as promised, here are some of the major pieces that will be going in the main living room and dining room:
This slipcovered loveseat from Lane-Venture will anchor the living room. The entire piece, from the frame to the foam and the slipcover fabric is meant to be outdoor. I like the clean lines of the arms and the simple box pleat of the skirt which give it a sophisticated, yet invitingly casual, feel.
This Louis XVI-style chair by Casa Midy, handmade from steel, will be the perfect companion to the loveseat. Its cage-like design gives the classic form an updated, contemporary flair. With a powdercoated metal frame and outdoor cushions, it could just as easily go in my outdoor living room.
In the dining room, this hand-carved teak chair from David Sutherland will add some warmth and organic richness. It has a retro…sort of “Mad Men” quality to it, I think, which is perfect for the look I am hoping to achieve with the decor. Made from the same material used to make boat decks, as well as classic garden benches, it would outlive me even if it were outside. My chairs have a special coating made for seaside and yacht applications which renders them even more durable, and the high-gloss finish makes them look particularly ‘indoorsy’.
So, there you have it. We are getting close! Please check back in next month to see the primary furniture pieces that will go in the den/television room and the bedroom, including a custom armoire that was inspired by an outdoor t.v. cabinet we designed for a recent client project. There will also be a lot more progress in the garden installation!