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Early in the spring of 2010 we were invited to submit a design proposal for the restoration of an historic Kent home. The home’s new owner was very knowledgeable about historical architecture and period design. He expressed his desire to integrate the property’s historical significance with contemporary needs. The drive entrance and barn/garage, for example, were neither in good shape, nor accomodating to the owner’s needs. Our challenge was to preserve the simplicity of an earlier era, and the emphasis on practicality, with what was practical to modern times, as well as enhancing the overall condition and appearance of the property without making it look newly done-over or merely cosmetically improved. Darrell Cherniske was the perfect designer for this job. The Cherniske family goes back many generations as  working and living in  the farmlands, fields and woodlands of the South Kent valley, and Darrell participates in many programs to maintain the village heritage of Kent and its neighboring rural areas.

Darrell proposed an approach that integrated the practical work needed (correcting drainage, improving the drive, with a elegant curvilinear parking court and formal garden that really complimented the property in the best way possible. The design was so far superior to others that the owner received, he was worried that it would be cost prohibitive. But the design was made of practical solutions that could be approached in a very cost-effective manner. A little bit of nip over here, a bit of tuck over there, and voila!

Overall Master Plan/ Approach

The client was very pleased with the overall approach, and was excited about the details of the formal garden that could be nestled in the courtyard. The idea was to attach the formal garden with a fieldstone path system that connected the drive and parking court to the inner patio between the buildings.

Courtyard Design/ Path System

An early American pickett fence was included with dowel rails, and stained the same color as the buildings, integrating them with the garden and the path system. Topiary Miss Kim lilacs were planted in the middle of an “x” weave of blue lace-cap hydrangeas, inside a Green Velvet boxwood border.

The Courtyard Garden

On the far side of the fence, Green Mountain Boxwood and hydrangea are planted as a border for the path and foundation planting for the building.

The Fieldstone Path Bordering the Courtyard Garden

On the outside of the courtyard fence we planted a mixed border of roses, viburnum, ostrich fern, and perennials including tiarella and heuchera in red, coral and bronze colors that complemented and stood up to the strong red architectural elements.

Border Garden

One of the finest touches in the design is the way the fieldstone path system weaves along from the border plantings, through the lawn, and hugs the drive all the way through the courtyard, where it becomes part of the foraml border. This is emphasized ith a perfect design element – the traditional light post/ lantern.

Gravel Drive & Flower Borders

You can see below how the border and the path cross like crossed fingers as they split the lawn on their way to the drive, with the lantern functioning like a beacon when coming and going.

Interweaving Path, Border & Drive

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