The Schlarb family's new landscape is going in soon. Preparations for installation have followed a long and carefully laid-out route.
A few months ago, I wrote about the beginning of this landscaping journey, when the snow was flying. The Schlarbs interviewed a couple of landscape experts and decided to follow Tim Forren's lead on updating the plantings and hardscapes that will surround their modern Charleston home.
The plan includes beautiful, interesting plants that will replace ones that were a bit overgrown or past their prime.
"It was a great landscape ... just traditional," Forren said. "We're using lots of angles, modern touches." Before the new plants can go in, the driveway was redone to offer more attractive beds and lawn areas, allowing for parking areas that are less obtrusive yet larger than the original space.
Melanie Schlarb recalled the heavy-equipment operators finishing half of the driveway and then telling her, "We'll be back in a couple of weeks." Of course, they were kidding, and they finished the paved drive with inset bricks in a couple of days, ending a few weeks ago. The landscape crew waited until the drive cured before moving trucks carrying plants onto the site.
The plantings will include a hemlock collection (Gracilis, Gentsch White, Pendula, Minima and Prostrate) at the foot of the drive, several red twig dogwoods, and a beautiful flowering perennial shade bed of astilbe, helleborus, hosta, fern and archangel. Near the house, there will be two large square containers sitting in a grassy area, filled with red dwarf Japanese maples. A variety of boxwoods, English weeping yews and liriope complete the foundation plantings.
Wisely, the Schlarbs will transplant many of the existing plants in a naturalized area near the new parking pad. They are making some changes to the back yard as well, including an ivy bed that will feature a yet-to-be-found outdoor sculpture.
As soon as the plants are in, I'll take another look and update this series. The process is typical, and hopefully folks will get the gist of just what it takes to totally redo their landscape. Not for the faint of heart, but rewarding!
Beautiful and beautiful
I was enthralled with the homes and gardens of the Briar Hills Garden Club House Tour. I have to admit, though, that the garden of John and Fonda Elliot was my favorite. Native plants, naturalized areas, formal spaces, exotics, humor and orderly elements all combine to create a perfect setting for a lovely home. Thanks to the homeowners who opened their homes and to the ladies who organized the tour.
Sara Busse is a Charleston resident and master gardener. She may be contacted at sjbu...@gmail.com.