A Rosarian’s Dream Garden: Shadow Hills by Grace Design Associates

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With one look at this delightful spot in Shadow Hills, you might ask, “Is this rose heaven?” The answer is yes, thanks to Grace Design Associates, but it wasn’t always this way! As the designers explain, “This client’s back yard was dominated by a moth and gopher-eaten lawn, some unloved foundation plantings, and a few valiant, care-worn roses.” The first thing needing to be done was terracing a sloping back yard. Next, the patio was enlarged and walled in on the perimeter; then an arbor was installed for shade. In answer to the client’s request for ample pathways to wind through for easy access to her flowers, rose-colored travertine paths were laid around a central fountain; a garden gate draws the eye to appreciate the view beyond the garden of rolling hills and an endless horizon.

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More paths were laid out next, in a rectilinear fashion that’s quite “formal” — but it’s saved from stiffness by the “riot” of color in the client’s choice of plantings. As Grace explains, “Plantings include lots of roses from her ‘favorite roses’ list, with perennials and a few annuals to knit it all together.” Best of all, the garden can be enjoyed from multiple levels — on the ground, or from the balcony above it; a pink stucco wall serves as both protection and as backdrop for the plantings, while a deep gopher barrier helps keep those pesky critters from invading again. The designers conclude, “It can be very challenging to make a collection of plants into a cohesive and delightful garden — and the strong structure of this garden does just that!”

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