Addison Garden
Washington Square West
(Philadelphia County) PA

Sound and light transform a small urban yard into an engaging garden for relaxing or entertaining.

Confronted with an ordinary
postage-stamp sized yard edged with a narrow planting strip and surfaced with uneven brick paving, the new owners of this urban home contacted Composite Inc. for some fresh ideas.

Over a series of meetings, Landscape Architect Michael LoFurno developed a plan that would bring light, space, and interest to the space, transforming it from an uninspired yard to a delightful intimate garden. Paving, lighting, furnishings, plantings, and a water feature were each chosen to create a unified whole. The refined layout brings these elements together to provide visual and auditory interest in the garden and create a viable extension of the home's living room. Whether entertaining several guests for dinner or just relaxing with the Sunday paper, the owners have found their new outdoor room to be "just right."

Concrete pavers set an angle to the building take the eye away from the surrounding fence and wall; their light tan hue reflects more of what little light reaches the well-shaded space, making it seem larger than its 16' by 19' size. A custom-built natural cedar fence complements the existing fence and conceals the air compressor set prominently in the corner. Plantings chosen for their ability to thrive in low-light conditions include fragrant hosta, striped lilyturf, heavenly bamboo, and native Hercules' club; these supplement the existing evergreen holly, Japanese maple and flowering dogwood to provide year-round interest. A built-in masonry seatwall provides extra room for guests without the clutter of additional furniture. Dramatic lighting showcases the garden's features.

Perhaps the most memorable feature of this garden is the three-tiered granite water feature. The restful gurgle of the water helps to shield the background noise of the urban neighborhood. At four feet in height, this auditory attraction is also visually striking; the laminar flow is especially dramatic at night when illuminated by low-voltage cross-lighting. This effect can be appreciated while seated in the garden or, when the weather is unseasonable, viewed from the living room.

Small urban spaces with seemingly little room for imanigative ideas can be daunting and depressing for some. Composite Inc. finds them challenging and welcomes the opportunity to transform them into special places that reflect the tastes and sensibilities of their owners, that complement and enlarge their homes, and instill a sense of pride (and, sometimes, drama) in those who use them.

Composite Inc provides landscape design and construction services for projects that range from intimate gardens to large-scale developments and greenways.

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