Tour a Backcountry Greenwich Garden Designed by Doyle Herman Design Associates



As a way to enliven the shady ground, James Doyle played with green tonalities, planting low irregular-sized boxwood balls beside beds of shiny-leaved Pachysandra terminalis and Vinca minor.It was a dappled and misty day when James Doyle first arrived at the site of a new project—an imposing Greenwich landmark home set on a hill at the edge of a wood. “Funnily enough,” says Doyle, a principal of Doyle Herman Design Associates, “it became clear to me right off what the design should be. From day one, I referred to this project as atmospheric.”

Atmospheric, too, describes the work of the American Impressionist painter John Henry Twachtman, whose spirit informs the property. Having traveled in Europe, Twachtman settled in this part of Connecticut with several of his artist friends (J. Alden Weir among them) at the end of the 19th century. But it was Twachtman’s sons, J. Alden and Quentin, who designed this Old World residence in 1928, and had it built from stone quarried on site. In all, the Twachtman brothers designed about two dozen rather stately homes in and around Greenwich—this one was for Florence Rockefeller Sloan. The house styles vary, but all are sensitively sited—fitting easily into their natural surroundings. The fluid harmony between sites and dwellings recall the gentle sensibility found in their father’s paintings.

By 2011, when Doyle entered the picture, the house and landscape were about 80 years old and exuded a palatable aura of age. “Our job was to preserve and restore the history of the place, but go at it with a lighter hand,” says Doyle, who worked on the property with Cheryl Brown, a senior landscape architect at DHDA. The house was surrounded by some very old trees. “The ancient legacy oak in the front courtyard may even predate the house,” says Brown.

An ancient oak anchors the entrance courtyard surrounded with two rows of boxwood hedges.Together, Doyle and Brown developed a sympathetic landscape of tonal, muted harmonies. “We structured the landscape in an organic, natural way,” Brown explains. “The pathways were completely redone, and we inserted broad flights of steps to connect the terraces. The only thing ‘grand’ here is the stairway we added at the back of the house.” The stairs’ steps are made of Barram Black, a locally found granite.

The house overlooks a man-made pond, which is shared with other neighbors. Restoring the pond was a major element of this project. To return it to good health, the pond had to be dredged. Then, the rich dredged matter was tested, blended and returned as excellent organic soil to build up the terraces. The team also added a spa beside a swimming pool, which was built by previous owners. The terrace was redone in bluestone with a diamond motif the runs throughout the masonry.

Irregular rounded balls of boxwood create a soft carpet from the house down the hillside to the woodland’s edge; if you squint your eyes, they suggest broad broken brush strokes. Vinca, too, is used as a ground cover. Its dark glossy leaves sparkle beneath the uneven light beneath the trees.

“We came in as part of a team, working alongside the architects, as the house underwent its transition to a new life,” says Doyle. While fresh and new, this landscape still retains many memories.

A version of this article appeared in the May 2017 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Tonal Topology.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Edit Module
Talent to Watch: Minh Lai, the winner of Country Floors Kitchen & Bath Tile Design Challenge.
Country Floors Tile Design Challenge allowed New York interior designers to create a digital kitchen or bathroom design, using Country Floors luxury tile collections. The challenge winner, Minh Lai is a graduate student at the New York School Of Interior Design currently pursuing masters in Interior Lighting Design. Minh’s eclectic non-traditional approach using Country Floors Barcela Cement Tile Collection to the winning bathroom design is just another step to a promising design career.

The LaurelRock Company

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Ten Spectacular Pool Landscapes
Experience the “wow” of water. For over 40 years, The LaurelRock Company has lent its design, build, and maintenance expertise to create backyard sanctuaries for thousands of residential properties. In any setting, a swimming pool is a focal point and prime location to spotlight stunning gardens filled with trees, plants, and flowers that are tolerant of poolside conditions. The addition of a pergola, terrace, stone pathway, water feature, outdoor kitchen, and mood lighting offers the perfect backdrop for entertaining and diving into relaxation.

The LaurelRock Company
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags