Some exteriors are attractive without much obvious “fuss,” without a great deal of ostentatious frill. Such is this yard and garden area in Memphis, as executed by Page|Duke Landscape Architects. Enter the yard through an arched stone doorway, with a lantern to light your way, and you’ll instantly feel wrapped in cozy green. Terraced levels greet you on the lawn, leading from a back “porch” of stone planters and trimmed shrubbery. On the wall is a bronze floral plaque; off to one side is a graceful al fresco dining area tucked in amongst the trees. A green and white weathered wood ornamental “shutter” faces one window; a ground-level concrete planter is carved with fanciful beasts, from bulls to gargoyles, intertwined with foliage that looks almost like “wings.”
One after another, you see tiny garden “rooms.” Pink tulips bring a burst of color; carefully arranged miniature bushes sit in trimmed splendor around a cobbled court. A wrought-iron gate in a red brick wall is lighted with yet more lanterns; over the wall next to it, a spill of climbers nearly touches the tops of tall lilies in a bed. A flagstone path leads you on a pleasant ramble back toward a sloping sweep of lawn…and a gleaming pool, ready for a few laps before you lounge in the sun. As you climb shallow steps, your hands are tickled by greens that seem to climb the rail with you. It’s a cooling oasis in the midst of a warm summer day — at once exuberant and serene, a match the best gardens always seem to achieve.