Our client’s home in the leafy North Shore suburbs was a study in minimalism and restraint. Owner of a boutique floral design company, she knew beautiful materials and the appeal of natural elements in her home and garden.

The previous owners, however, had left the wooden decking, rotting trellises and hot tub to our client to manage. Out they went, as the first part of our renovation of the space. Working closely with the client’s interior designer, we collectively fashioned the conceptual basis for the space and then went to work to crack through the details.

To create a singular feel to the garden we employed full-range patterned bluestone for its cool yet classic looks. We decided to throw in a twist, though, by cutting sweeping curves in the bluestone and mortaring glossy black japara stone mesh over a sunken concrete footing. Our pergola was made of tube steel with a blue powder coating applied, and the columns set on mortared piers of drywall stone.

An architectural element adds to the intrigue of the space. Chinese stones, set in concrete bases, rest within a dyed concrete water feature. Micro-irrigation lines push water up the backside and down the face of each stone, while underwater lighting picks up the stone’s detail and overall glow emitted through the water.

Cedar planking with inset boulders creates a visual sightline to the water feature from the kitchen, and a micro-spotlight mounted on the home’s fascia highlights the owner’s collection of mounted ceramic tiles gleaned from ventures abroad.

A crimson Japanese lace leaf maple draws the eye through a hedge of arborvitae, while ornamental grasses and vines soften the overall look. Finally, Henry Hall “Leagrave” benches bring the human element into the design, providing a visual and physical resting place.

Photography ©2006 Linda Oyama Bryan. Used by permission.