A midcentury gem by Richmond’s own modernist architect, Alan McCullogh, was undergoing a total renovation. For the gardens, our clients had a clear vision: create an ode to the gardens of Palm Springs and other favorite travel destinations, without betraying the home’s provenance within Richmond’s historic Bon Air neighborhood.
We first needed to re-grade the sloped beds bordering the front. Terracing the land would mitigate erosion caused by roof-shed, and allow for the use of our intended top dressing: a fine gravel mix evoking desert landscapes. A large Corten steel panel, layered on top of reinforced cinder block, formed a reliable and textured retaining wall.
We knew that the plant palette should embrace the graphic elements of the home’s renovation. And we needed to solve for a range of light conditions on the house’s north-facing front. The end result was push/pull: cold-hardy cacti mixed with lush tropicals, co-existing with native shrubs and trees. Finally, we saved and transplanted mature boxwoods from the original garden. In their new positions, we pruned the shrubs into tighter, topiary forms, displaying our dual reverence for tradition and mid-century kitsch.
Location: Richmond, VA
Metal Fabrication: Harrison Pemberton
Masonry: Oscar Estrada
Photography: Mindie Ballard
Text: MA Williams
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