Summertime is for enjoying the great outdoors, and Birmingham has so many wonderful outdoor spaces to explore, such as Red Mountain Park, Oak Mountain State Park, Railroad Park and the Rotary Trail downtown and even Lake Martin, a little over an hour away. But some of our city’s most beautiful landscapes lie in our own backyards, lush enclaves crowning some of the Magic City’s most idyllic homes. These are spaces where sunshine peeks through giant trees at sunset. Gardens full of butterflies and bees nurture colorful flowers. Cozy seating beckons you to sit back and enjoy the mountain air, and elegant fountains serve as the backyard’s peaceful soundtrack. We’ve found three of Birmingham’s most beautiful outdoor residential spaces, so get ready to discover the imagination and be inspired by these green masterpieces.

Check out these three beautiful gardens and patios!

Check out these three beautiful gardens and patios!

3 Beautiful Outdoor Living Spaces

Modern French Country Elegance

The owner of this elegant home lived across the street from this home for over 20 years, dreaming of a lush garden but restricted by the steep drop-off behind her hilltop home. She convinced her neighbor to sell this lot and began dreaming up the perfect outdoor space with a little help from landscape designer and horticulturalist, Clarke Bohorfoush, owner of Boho Designs, LLC. “The entire reason for buying the home was the garden,” says Clarke. “So that really put the pressure on me, but it was also a lot of fun because I got to really go crazy.”

“We wanted to achieve a formality in the front, so it was this grand, Modern French statement with manicured green touches, round pea gravel motorway and espalier apple trees,” Clarke says. “Then you walk through the house and into this chaotic garden, full of color. What lies behind it is very wild and free. I wanted her to have space to play and work in the garden.” And this dreamy landscape stays wild and free all year with exciting new blooms each season, like the striking purple delphiniums in summer.

The focal point of the garden is a stunning freestanding fountain that separates the perennial garden from the limelight hydrangea. Behind the fountain are Teddy Bear Magnolia trees, which are in place to establish a wall of privacy for the owner’s private escape. “She’ll sit in her kitchen window just staring at her garden, and that makes me so happy,” Clarke says.

The stately facade of this Modern French Country home is dotted with ivy topiary and boxwoods.

The stately façade of this Modern French Country home is dotted with ivy topiary and boxwoods.

The front of the house features three espalier apple trees, which are dripping with fresh apples in the summer.

The front of the house features three espalier apple trees, which are dripping with fresh apples in the summer.

The landscape in the back of the home is more colorful and wild with walkways among the flowers and herbs.

The landscape in the back of the home is more colorful and wild, with walkways among the flowers and herbs.

The freestanding fountain wall features an antique spigot from Architectural Heritage and a metal corrugated plant bucket, set on a basin of pea gravel. "It really ties the whole garden together," says Clarke.

The freestanding fountain wall features an antique spigot from Architectural Heritage and a metal corrugated plant bucket, set on a basin of pea gravel. “It really ties the whole garden together,” says Clarke.

"The goal of this garden is to have things blooming all times of year with a glorious symphony of color mid-summer," says Clarke.

“The goal of this garden is to have things blooming all times of year with a glorious symphony of color mid-summer,” says Clarke.

Purple delphiniums grow upward amid a lush garden of greenery and blossoms.

Purple delphiniums grow upward amid a lush garden of greenery and blossoms.

A bumblebee goes about his work among the dahlias.

A bumblebee goes about his work among the dahlias.

"For the patio, we chose white, simple furniture that didn’t detract from the garden and a pop of color with the rug and pillows," says Clarke.

“For the patio, we chose white, simple furniture that didn’t detract from the garden and a pop of color with the rug and pillows,” says Clarke.

Into the Woods

This magical garden is fit for Cinderella herself, but is best seen before the clock strikes midnight. Catch this wooded haven at the golden hour when the sun filters through the leaves for a completely relaxing spot at day’s end. This space is a child’s dream, as there is so much space to roam and explore, as well as a haven for adults who can get lost in a good book among the flowers. Clarke, who also designed this sprawling yard, had a lot of space to work with and used it to create inviting pathways and secluded sitting areas for the owners to get lost in their own piece of Wonderland.

The backyard was originally a simple bluestone pool set among massive rocks and enclosed by woods. So, Clarke began by clearing all the trees in a way that still felt natural and organic. That way, the owners could take advantage of all the incredible outdoor space. He inserted flagstone steps for exploring all levels of the land and lined them with hedges of hydrangea and Dwarf Mondo. His goal was to ensure that the owners could enjoy every square inch of this space instead of just staying by the pool.

Anyone who visits the garden can get lost among the white geraniums and mona lavender — curled up on a wooden bench away from distraction — and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets between the trees.

The family plans to add a fire pit to this patio for cool evenings under the stars.

The family plans to add a fire pit to this patio for cool evenings under the stars.

Potted white million bells and white geraniums add a touch of elegance to the woodsy feel.

Potted white million bells and white geraniums add a touch of elegance to this patio’s woodsy feel.

A rainbow of hydrangea decorates the edge of the lawn.

A rainbow of hydrangeas decorates the edge of the lawn.

Clarke and the homeowners discovered the brick under the pool house and decided to created a walkway out of it because the color looked so organic in this setting.

Clarke and the homeowners discovered this brick under the pool house and decided to use it for a walkway  because of its organic-looking color.

"Ajuga is a fantastic ground cover with purple blooms in the spring," says Clarke. "We wanted the pathway to blend in and for the ground cover along the edges to naturally accent it."

“Ajuga is a fantastic ground cover with purple blooms in the spring,” says Clarke. “We wanted the pathway to blend in and for the ground cover along the edges to naturally accent it.”

Clarke left the wild hydrangeas growing on the property, which have wild Autumn clamatis growing through them for a beautifully wild and natural look.

Clarke left the wild hydrangeas growing on the property, which have wild autumn clematis growing through them for a beautifully wild and natural look.

Pots along the walkway are filled with Mona lavender, creeping jenny, new guinea impatiens and hypostestes.

Pots along the walkway are filled with Mona lavender, Creeping Jenny, New Guinea impatiens and hypoestes.

The stairway is made of 30-inch grey flagstone step treads planted with Dwarf Mondo Grass and hedges of Penny Mac hydrangeas.

The stairway is made of 30-inch grey flagstone step treads, planted with Dwarf Mondo Grass and hedges of Penny Mac hydrangeas.

A Hollywood Garden

Jeanne Jackson and her husband spent 17 years planting this lush green wonderland themselves beside their beautiful bungalow in Homewood’s historic Hollywood neighborhood. The couple was inspired by a white garden in Sissinghurst, England, where they once lived, and thought a white garden would be the perfect accessory to the hot Alabama summers. Garden designer Mary Zahl drew the plans, and the couple got to work planting one area at a time.

Jeanne says they spend most of the time in the screened porch on the back of their white, Georgian-style house, admiring their incredible handiwork under Mary’s impeccable vision. They enjoy their lovely garden best as it peaks in late spring, but they have perennials, such as camellias, hydrangea, daphne and gardenias blooming throughout the year for a consistently spectacular view.

The Jacksons' garden was inspired by the gardens of England, where they lived for a time.

The Jacksons’ garden was inspired by the gardens of England, where they lived for a time.

"We change the beds out two times per year," says Jeanne. "In fall with pansies and violas and in spring with begonias."

“We change the beds out two times per year,” says Jeanne Jackson. “In fall with pansies and violas, and in spring with begonias.”

"We spend most of our time in our screened porch on back of house which we can use for 9 months a year," says Jeanne.

“We spend most of our time in our screened porch on back of the house, which we can use for nine months a year,” says Jeanne.

"Those are Amaryllis that we receive each year for Christmas," says Jeanne. "This year they all bloomed the same color!"

“Those are amaryllis that we receive each year for Christmas,” says Jeanne. “This year, they all bloomed the same color!”

"The house is a white two-story Georgian house with a tile roof. The neighborhood has more of a Spanish look," says Jeanne of her Hollywood home.

“The house is a white two-story Georgian with a tile roof. The neighborhood has more of a Spanish look,” says Jeanne of her Hollywood home.

The garden sculpture by Dr. Dave Ullrich is titled "Offspring" and was commissioned for their 25th Anniversary.

The garden sculpture by Dr. Dave Ullrich is titled “Offspring” and was commissioned for the Jackson’s 25th Anniversary.

And for another home with fabulously inventive outdoor living spaces, check out the interior courtyard, rear garden and rooftop vegetable garden in this modern row house in downtown Birmingham!

Thank you to Eric & Jamie Photography for the beautiful images of the gardens designed by Clarke Bohorfoush!

Thank you to Clarke Bohorfoush and Jeanne Jackson for sharing their gardens! To learn more about Clarke’s landscape design services and Boho Designs, LLC, email [email protected] or call (205) 746-9059.

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