#1 Society Hill: Hardscaping and planting design of this tiny ground level patio/garden of the end house of an alley street in Olde City, Philadelphia.
The design is beautifully functional. The idea was to create a space that appears larger than this very small space; a path to the doors of the house and the gate of the lane; storage/waste, a sitting/dining space, and garden. A Zen-like garden was a theme throughout. The S curve, that separates the slate patio from the wood floor, creates a path to the front door and sliding doors, from the gate, and a “deck” to sit and dine. The curve in the path on one side and the cabinet directly in front of one, which forces the guest to curve, makes the space from A.to B. seem to meander more than a straight run. The stepped rock garden adds depth to make the garden look larger.The garden and border of the brick walls that surround this ground level are planted with lush shade plants at the base where there’s little sun and bamboo and liriope grasses are planted against the wall in direct sunlight. The bamboo and clematis climbing the walls, soften the brick and adds even more depth of foliage. River rocks of varying sizes surround the garden and the deck, that seems to hover over a riverbed of little rocks. (unfortunately, the pictures aren’t that great. The clients had just put out a bunch of planters that blocked the garden from view, but it was the only time I could take photos)
The design was to compensate for the incline using stepped beds and river rocks to camouflage very strong wood “shelving”. The lady of the house loved Africa and grasslands and so I incorporated a lot of grasses and shrubs that reminded one of that area of the world in a completely different climate.