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Grand Scale

Ray Minella’s expansive English Manor lacked one thing: Landscaping. That’s where Mark Hicks of Elise Nursery came in

(page 4 of 4)

Hit the Links

Property lines are tight in front and on the sides on the house, yet Hicks and his team also had to contend with a long, relatively narrow backyard hemmed in by woods. For another client, a landscape designer might have suggested a pool and tennis courts. But Minella gets his exercise on the links. So Hicks’ crew removed dozens of trees and graded the land so that it rolls flat for 200 yards before gradually rising another 200 yards to an upper wall of mature trees. In essence, they built a 400-yard fairway, along with an elevated putting green topped with artificial turf off to the right. The stone patio that runs the length of the back of the house serves as a tee.

Still, the property needed something on the far left to balance the stone manor and its five Tudor brick chimneys. At the end of the patio, Hicks designed an outdoor kitchen with raised vegetable garden. Then, down the long left side of the fairway, he put an oblong reflecting pool. At its foot is a slate-roofed gazebo with fireplace in the style of the house and garden gateway. An English border garden between the pool lane and the lawn is separated by a low stone wall. Standing sentry here are a pair of Liquidambar styraciflua—23-foot-high American sweetgums. They play off the chimneys, help pull the eye to the pool and gazebo, and bring the whole back of the property into balance with the manor.  

In the end, scale matters as much as size here. “I just wanted the landscape to be in architectural proportion with the size of the house,” says Minella. Now, a year after landscaping has been completed and the plantings have settled in, it does.