Back in August, on my third medical-related trip to New Orleans in just 5 months' time, Eric and I were strolling through the French Quarter when we had a lightning bolt of inspiration – our huge, blank canvas of a back yard should be designed like a classic New Orleans Garden with a little Savannah and Charleston thrown in for good measure. The fountains, the gazebos, the slate pathways, the dark, leafy plants, the black wrought iron, the hedges, the brick/stone work, the gas lanterns…we want it all…what better way to compliment out already out-of-place-in-Sonoma Colonial house with a southern garden?
As anyone who has done design knows, often times there are TOO many choices and once you pick one central piece or theme, the whole plan comes together cohesively. Well, we are still not in that cohesive state yet, but the overall plan has really helped us set the tone for the home's accessories as well as start the dialogue about how we want the exterior landscaped.
I for one am thrilled to take a little bit of NOLA home with me – that magical town that helped take me apart and put me back together again this year did it with just the right combination of healing care, expertise, charm, southern hospitality and just a little bit of voodoo. That's the feeling we want in our garden – that magic you can't quite put your finger on, but you know it's there.
Now onto another problem worth having, our yard is so big and even with our new theme there are still so many possibilities and choices. I'm now on the hunt for inspirational photos and a great landscape designer to help us pull this all together. It took me years to get good at gardening in NYC – figuring out what plants did well and where they did it and now it's like learning how to garden all over again – we'll definitely need some help to jump start things. And all the planning is paramount since we'll need to bring sprinkler, propane and electric lines through the space to bring our vision to life. So for now I gather inspiration…and recommendations for landscape designers…
On a related note, when we started our siding project (almost done!) and went to get a permit for it we found out that the county required us to file for an address for the guest house in order to renovate it. Later we found out that we were required by law to post the number of the guest house and to provide a separate mailbox for it. A bit overkill for us but should we or the inevitable next owners want to ever rent the guest house out a separate mailbox and address would make this easier.
Now currently our mailbox is a ways down the road at the bottom of a very steep hill (yes we live in the middle of nowhere!) which is not really convenient as I don't really enjoying walking at a 45 degree angle. We had asked our mail carrier about moving our mailbox to the front of our house and she said it was a complicated task and in general did not seem in favor of our grand idea to have our mail delivered closer to our home. But once we got the new address we were allowed to move the box as the space at the bottom of the hill would not accommodate 2 boxes – score!
We flirted with the idea of getting a mailbox in the shape of a chicken or a turkey but that really doesn't fit out NOLA theme so I looked around and found a nice double mailbox post with black wrought iron and copper/patina mailboxes that will complement the whole style when it's all done. We need to dig an 18 inch hole and buy some cement to install this so we'll get to it after the siding is done. But look, shiny!
When it's all installed it will look like this:
And while we're doing picture time, here are some garden inspiration photos I've been collecting:
Yes, we'll be getting some sort of tiered fountain, but don't worry! We haven't lost our taste…no peeing cherubs or anything like that…less this…
Oddly enough that fountain above is called the "Williamsburg" fountain, but I'm assuming they mean more colonial and less hipster
A black fountain would be nice…
Less of a wedding gazebo but I see some type of gazebo in our future…
Hedges…how cool…would love a hedge maze! But we are going for more "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and less "The Shining"
Oh yeah, and don't forget the gas lanterns...