Tour the Grounds of Architect Paulo Vicente's Shingle-Style Home
When architect Paulo Vicente of Vicente-Burin Architects approached the LaurelRock Company to design the grounds surrounding his elegant new gambrel shingle-style home and sunken swimming pool, the landscape designers were intrigued by the opportunities presented by this large, gently sloping property. To encourage garden exploration, they crafted a series of experiences connected by a quarter-mile stone walking loop that emanates from a white birch grove, situated in what could have been a forlorn and useless side yard. Instead, the space was conceived as an entrance garden beneath the dappled shade of birches, arranged in an orchard pattern, and finished with a graceful Munder-Skiles wooden bench. Bluestone diamond sitting spaces, interlaced with creeping groundcovers, echo the home’s custom window grille patterns.
From the grove, the walking path rolls slowly down the hillside, revealing four distinct spaces: the sunken pool, the shade garden, the perennial border and the children’s corner, before ascending to the upper patio and tea garden near the kitchen. Sitting in nearly the lowest point on the property, the Vicente-Burin–designed swimming pool is embraced by integrated stone steps and a sculpted lawn area. The result is a clean, pared-down poolside space.
In contrast, the shade garden in the northwest corner registers softly with a white and pink color palette, punctuated by a bespoke iron bench. The perennial border is inspired by the rustic character of old meadows and is filled with swaths of rudbeckia, nepeta and anise hyssop, attracting bees and butterflies. The children’s corner satisfies the owner’s request for plenty of recreation space for the grandchildren by combining a sunken trampoline, sitting terrace and climbing tree. Off the kitchen patio is the tea garden: a sunny, small-scale garden lined with lawn pathways, blocks of boxwood and mounds of geranium ‘Rozanne.’
This landscape design successfully combines well-considered features into a cohesive whole, inviting discovery, while remaining decidedly understated.
A version of this article appeared in the May 2016 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Blazing a Trail.