Filled with overgrown shrubs and little else, the courtyard around the entrance to Barbara and Tony Andrea’s Connecticut, US, residence didn’t exactly say, “Welcome to our home.” But enclosed on three sides by the L-shape house and a garage, the space had plenty of potential as a garden retreat. It just needed a new design to give it the warmth the couple felt befitted their newly renovated, cottage-style house. “For me, a landscape is like a frame on a painting. It should enhance a home,” Barbara Andrea says.
Scenic drive: A simple picket gate marks the beginning of the flower-filled stroll from the driveway to the front door. Photographs by Mathew Benson; styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent
Landscapers William Ostrander and Steven Pacholyk installed the foundation of the new design—a slate patio in the middle of the courtyard—and extended the paving as a path to the existing driveway. Small trees and flowering shrubs planted along the fourth, open side of the space reinforce the feeling of an enclosed outdoor room and provide privacy.
Andrea, an avid gardener, then filled the 70ft trek from driveway to front door with day lilies, Shasta daisies, roses, hydrangeas, and many other flowering perennials and shrubs. The house remains enveloped in a host of colours most of the year. Planting pockets set into the paving soften the stone patio’s hard edges. Vines ramble up the walls, uniting the house and garden. For Andrea, the original plan was boring and flat. “I wanted a garden that would hug the house,” she says.
All-weather seating on the slate patio ahead makes for a cozy hangout.
The cozy courtyard is the couple’s outdoor living room during the summer months, with a flower show that lasts until autumn. “It’s so friendly and welcoming, it makes me happy every time I come home,” says Andrea. Its pretty hues also make it a great place to entertain, especially on beautiful days. All it takes is a few pieces of comfortable outdoor furniture and you are all set.