Solution: Colorful Creation
Landscape pro Hallie Flanagan Wolfe designed a 25-by-12½-foot bluestone patio, bordered on one side with a curving, 18-inch-high-by-18-inch-deep fieldstone wall. A new wooden dining set and matching bar grace the zone, as does a new stainless steel grill. Keeping the sloping garden bed intact, Wolfe tore out most of the old pachysandra and ferns, replacing them with hot pink and pale yellow Knock Out ground-cover roses, among other plants. Before Wolfe set the dogwood tree in place, she added soil to the spot she chose for it (above right) to create a level and firmly supported garden terrace.
The backyard—uneven and covered with overgrown ferns and pachysandra—lacked visual variety and color. Plus, there was no place for guests to mingle or residents to relax in comfort. The Home Team recently zapped a tired backyard, invigorating it with a much-needed wake-up. The less-than-level topography, overgrown with ferns, didn't offer an adequate spot for entertaining—or even sitting down comfortably. Partnering with the Home Depot and Ossining, New York–based landscape expert Hallie Flanagan Wolfe, editor-in-chief Donna Sapolin, pictured above (center), deputy articles editor Nicole Sforza (left), and stylist Kevin Hertzog transformed the ho-hum site into an inviting haven. Wolfe designed a stone patio and curvy, low-lying wall to delineate areas and functions, and dotted the yard with flora of various colors and textures. The result: a vibrant oasis that welcomes all. Landscape designer Hallie Flanagan Wolfe: A horticulture professional for 18- years, Wolfe favors environmentally friendly landscaping. "We are stewards of the earth, responsible for leaving it a better place," she says. She uses organic pesticides except in very rare cases, nixes invasive plants such as honeysuckle and porcelain berry, and selects native plants when possible. "I take design cues from what I see in the woods or along the river. Do the same," she advises. "Opt for lots of green, and dot with color. Use annuals for color throughout the season. And think about what attracts birds, butterflies, and you. Choose fragrant flowers and shrubs, especially those that release their fragrance at night. Most of all, be patient. Real gardens take years to mature. Enjoy the act of gardening as much as the garden itself." Plantscapes: Landscape and garden guru Hallie Flanagan Wolfe mixed various flowers and plants within one terra-cotta pot. "Inspired by traditional Japanese principles, I always want something high in the center, something midsize, and something pointing toward the earth," she says. Wolfe intermingled a tall yellow ranunculus with (to its right) a cream-colored Knock Out rose, coleus (multicolored leaves), nemesia (white flowers), a tuberous begonia (large green leaves), verbena 'Homestead Purple', and purple pansies. "I love the intensity of the colors and how they work together," she says. "The hints of yellow in the coleus tied to the ranunculus. And the white nemesia softened the intensity of the yellow and purple."