The owner of this Tenafly garden—a stressed and harried doctor—wanted to smile when she walked outside her basement home office. She got that and more with this Zen-influenced design by Scenic Landscaping in Haskell. “It’s a little touch of heaven in her own backyard,” says Scenic Landscaping owner Mitchell Knapp. Rock elements, a water feature and exotic plantings all contribute to what Knapp describes as positive energy flow—“the Zen.” The bluestone-slab steps meander through specimens including Scottish moss, weeping hemlock, river birch, liriope, cranesbill geranium and Japanese maple. The cozy seating area just outside the door makes an ideal spot to unwind to the soothing gurgle of the nearby water feature. In fact, says Knapp, the doctor now takes her laptop outside, where the peace and calm help her focus and lessen the stress of her demanding practice.
These Bernardsville homeowners wanted to transform their backyard woodland clearing into a comfortable outdoor living space with a riot of colors blooming virtually year-round. Basking Ridge-based landscaping pro Anthony Sblendorio, founder of Back to Nature, and his team formed a border around the woods from small trees, shrubs and perennials, softened by ornamental grasses.
Flowers and plants bloom in stages: enormous drifts of daffodils in early spring as the perennial garden gradually appears. By early summer, nepeta and amsonia bloom, followed by the strong colors of pervoskia, rudbeckia and echinacea. In fall, purple and blue asters glow beside russet and red grasses. By Thanksgiving, the garden has matured into a somber palette of browns, sepias and russets. Surrounded by this chromatic effusion, the homeowners enjoy hosting guests on the terrace. “It’s cozy, elegant and timeless,” says Sblendorio. “It a perfect spot for year-round entertaining and outdoor living.”
Back to Nature
Stone Soul Picnic
Patios have gone from paltry to patrician in one of the hottest trends in the building industry. Case in point: this extravagantly outfitted extension of a Garden State home. Using modular pavers from the Mega Lafitt collection by Belgard Hardscapes, a national manufacturer of pavers and wall blocks, a backyard party space was created with two separate dining areas; an outdoor kitchen with grill, stovetop, sink and refrigerator; plenty of comfortable seating; and the focal point, a magnificent fireplace.
“Homeowners are renovating their backyards to extend their living space,” says Belgard’s vice president of marketing, Ken O’Neill, “and its use extends well beyond the summertime barbeque.” The fireplace, prefabricated by Belgard’s manufacturing partner, Harmony Outdoor Living, allows virtually year-round entertaining. The structure, part of Belgard’s Elements Collection, is shipped on a pallet for installation, significantly reducing construction time.
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