Turning a Dusty Spot into a Garden Paradise: San Roque by Grace Design Associates

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Everybody knows that renovations and repairs almost always take longer than you think they’re going to — and the family at San Roque had seen that first-hand. Finally, after “living in the dust” for too long, they called Grace Design Associates to help make their new construction site livable. Stucco retaining walls and other elements were already in place, so the designers went to work to reconnect the garden with the house in ways that made sense for the family’s living and entertaining styles. The idea? A yard that would be fun for their soon-to-be-teenagers while, at the same time, providing Mom and Dad a place to relax and recharge… a tall order for a compact lot. First order of business: rustic stone steps were put in around and over the retaining walls to allow access to every part of the yard.

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The central entertaining spot then evolved naturally, with the addition of a campfire-style fire pit and cedar spa; surrounding them with native plantings provided an ideal balance of greenery and color for the space. Ingeniously, each part of this garden does double-duty: citrus trees form a privacy screen; a vegetable garden also holds a sitting area; boulders form a retaining wall and handy lounging around the edge of the hot tub. A separate patio allows the family dogs fresh air while keeping them confined and out of the garden, and gravel beneath all allows for some flexibility in use as well — including the family’s decision to raise some chickens! All in all, it’s a harmonious whole: a Mediterranean-style home and natural stone and water features combine to provide a perfect “escape” for the whole family.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).