Beautiful residential gardens are the green equivalent of surround sound. They envelop, intensify, and enrich the very experience of being. It’s like an embrace from nature.
The opportunity to interact with the landscape provides homeowners with a sense of belonging. “The more personal, the more meaningful,” says Edward Furner, landscape designer and horticulturalist at Mariani Landscape in Lake Bluff, Ill. “Engaging in the landscape—that’s the ideal scenario where homeowners are reaping the biggest benefit.”
It’s the same trend that Michael Dreyfus, a broker with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International in Palo Alto, Calif., is seeing in his region, particularly in the form of working gardens. “Simple vegetable beds have expanded into entire kitchen gardens,” he says.
A prime example is Dreyfus’ listing for a Tuscan-style country estate in Woodside, Calif., about 25 miles from San Francisco. Three-hundred-year-old terracotta roof tiles, limestone terraces and hand-carved doors transport you to the Italian country side. The entire property is landscaped as a large garden that includes native plants, expansive lawns, professionally designed lighting, and many options for recreation and entertaining. “The vegetable and cutting garden takes advantage of the mild climate to give you flowers and fresh produce that you can enjoy al fresco in the redwood grove dining area, lit by an outdoor chandelier, it’s so enchanting,” he says.
In new construction, landscape design firms work closely with architects to carry out the homeowner’s vision and complement the style of the home. As an example, Furner says “modern architecture lends itself to a relatively simple palette with a very geometric landscape design.”
Technology has automated many aspects of landscape design, particularly in the commercial sector, yet residential landscaping remains labor intensive. Furner counts among his company’s projects lakefront properties that required materials to be barged in because the topography around the home was too steep to negotiate.
More than ever, homeowners are looking for more flexible outdoor spaces, according to a trends survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects. They want to dine outdoors, watch movies under the stars, and sit around a fire. Refined design draws people out of their homes to a place that feels restorative.
“When we prepare homes for sale, landscaping is a huge part of what we do,” Dreyfus notes. Surroundings play heavily into the buying decision. “It’s where all the emotion comes in. If we don’t feel there’s an emotional quotient already there with the landscaping, we’ll put it in.”
Iyna Bort Caruso is a New York-based journalist.
In the heart of the exclusive Cap d’Antibes, benefiting from a prime location and sea views, this exceptional property of contemporary style has a protected and historic landscaped garden. Le Mas Fleuri offers 900 square meters of living space and features large reception areas opening onto terraces facing the sea, along with nine en-suite bedrooms. Set on 5,000 square meters of grounds with multiple terraces, a pool, and pool house, this magnificent property is a jewel of the French Riviera.