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By Cathy Carr, APLD

Cathy Carr and Garden Gate are proud to report that we received a 2010 Award of Merit from the national Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET.  

We were referred to the homeowners by one of the area’s best residential architect/builders. Gilday Renovations completed a two-story addition to a DC residence several years ago, and the homeowners love their larger kitchen, new sitting room, and generous master bedroom.  New energy-efficient windows allow additional light to fill the interior spaces, which is fantastic. Except that the beautiful new windows made crystal clear that the outdoor spaces weren’t attractive or inviting. 

The homeowners wanted the views from their home to be as eye-catching as the new interior spaces.  Additional entertaining and circulation space was required.  Overgrown trees made the garden feel damp and bleak. A complete transformation of the back yard was clearly called for.

Four distinct areas were created from the narrow city lot: a flagstone dining terrace with ample grill space; a lawn panel; an upper shade garden above a new stone wall; and a deck that connects home to garden.  


The conceptual design features a diagonally oriented terrace and curving lawn. Both mitigate the pinched feeling of the garage located in the middle of the lot.


The sitting room originally looked out to the back wall of the white garage. Here are before and after pictures of the door that exits the sitting room. The new transitional deck is large enough for a small table and chairs while wide steps allow for spillover seating. Plantings add four-season interest and surround the space with color, texture, and movement. The deck was constructed of Ipe with a composite railing system for trouble-free maintenance.


Before the view from the house was unattractive.


This after image demonstrates the increased serenity and openness of the garden. Camellias and climbing hydrangeas will cover the fence; Nandina and mop head Hydrangeas were transplanted for an immediate mature look. Crape myrtles in the upper garden catch light from the east. Some overgrown Cedars were removed while
those screening the alley were retained. Fern, Hellebore, Hosta, Azalea, and Solomon’s Seal under plant the trees.


The flagstone terrace, lawn panel, stone retaining wall and steps present attractive focal points from the home and new deck. Natural materials contribute an appropriate aesthetic to the 40’s era home and complement the color of the siding used for the home’s addition. We suggested that the garage be painted to match the exterior walls. The integration of various inside and outdoor elements is smooth and harmonious. The owners love it. 

Peer recognition is nice, but we are most proud the homeowners continue to have our help maintaining their garden. Our motto, Gardens for Living – Customers for Life ®, truly reflects our mission and the value we place on our relationships.

Garden Gate Landscaping has collaborated with Gilday and its clients for almost two decades. Like Gilday, Garden Gate has integrity; we listen well to our clients and provide creative, single-source solutions with the highest levels of client satisfaction and value.