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.
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.
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.
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.
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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