Have you been enjoying your summer? We're just getting into the really hot weather and I don't mind it one bit. These are the days we long for, right?
We finally had our landscaping done at our cottage and I thought I would give you a look around. Admittedly Sean and I have no skills when it comes to planning a garden so we decided to hire a professional landscaper for this job. We waited a few years before deciding what to do with this space which gave us time to really hone in on our needs and be able to communicate those to a pro and I'm pleased to say our dream has become a reality. Come, have a look around!
Why should you hire a professional landscaper? Much like an architect and the skills they bring to designing a house, a landscaper can help you with building your ideal garden. A landscaper can bring design ideas around plant types, what varieties work well together and are suited to your conditions. They are also problem solvers and know how to deal with the challenges different landscapes present. Lastly, they bring expertise and speed of construction. Sean and I could have fumbled our way through and attempted to plant this garden ourselves (Sean worked a few summers laying patios and walkways so there's that!), but it most certainly would have taken all our summer weekends to do it ;)
Since this is a three season cottage and we're not here regularly to water plants during the week, we had a few requirements:
The plants should be hardy and suited to both infrequent watering in the summer and very cold winters. We wanted the plants and the hardscape to complement the look of the cottage. We like symmetry and formality and orderly pathways and borders. The garden should suit the country setting, but we're not the wild English garden type ;) And we wanted a little privacy. Our porch faces the street (I love seeing people and kids on bikes go by) so its exposed but we wanted a small area to do our barbequing. Additionally, the plants shouldn't get so high that they would block the views from our porch. We knew right from the beginning that Jason and his team from Four Seasons Landscaping PEC would be the ones for the job. Jason has done the landscaping for over 100 of the cottages at our resort, Sandbanks Summer Village, and many others throughout Prince Edward County. Each of the projects we've seen of his are unique, interesting, and beautifully suited to the land. He came highly recommended by many of our neighbours and we knew he could create something just right for us.
Jason knows our resort well so he had a deep understanding of the weather and light conditions in our little plot of land. I think when you're hiring a landscaper that it's very important to hire someone local. They'll have knowledge of what plant varieties work in the area and can make suggestions suited to your particular situation. They also have knowledge on the local cost and availability of materials which makes planning and sticking to the budget easier.
Sean and I had seen different elements from other cottages that we wanted to incorporate in our landscaping. The basic plan consisted of a bordered gravel driveway, a front landing pad, and a small back patio. Four Seasons Landscaping PEC were phenomenal and Jason and his crew of about 10 finished this in just a few hours!
The driveway was very simple and square. Following the shape of the cottage allowed for this area where we've put our bike rack. The resort is very safe so we tend to keep our bikes out while we're here.
The skirting around the base of the cottage creates a nice, clean backdrop for the plantings. The mulch keeps things looking unified and helps retain moisture in the soil. We've kept one small area open so we can still access our under-cottage storage.
The driveway connects to this pretty front landing. One thing we did specify was this 'new' brick that looks like old reclaimed brick. I've long had a love for walkways laid in a herringbone brick pattern. Our old front walkway had a similar scheme with herringbone field and soldier course border. The red tone of this brick works nicely with our painted red cottage and adds to that country feel.
One trick Jason had was to lay the border pavers upside down. The top of the pavers had a rough texture and he knew we'd much prefer the cleaner back side so he just flipped them ever. So smart! On the corner, I've placed an extra urn that we weren't using at our city house. I picked up this planter at a local nursery and yes, I do haul the planter back and forth when we go home. Who am I and when did I become this plant-loving lady that hauls her petunias around?! Lol!
We wanted a simple perimeter of plants around the cottage. We decided on hydrangeas on the corners mixed with spirea. The hydrangeas will bloom white (next summer!) and the spirea have pretty purple flowers in the summer and in fall, the leaves will turn a vibrant orange. These plants are pretty low maintenance and don't need much up keep which makes them perfect for this property.
As we're on the corner, we've got a wide expanse of yard. We asked Jason to create a corner garden as well. The only stipulations were there needed to be a fence and some rocks and we're really pleased with what he came up with. The fence boards are about 100 years old, from Jason's old family farm and I love their character. I'm not sure what all the plants are (there's a hydrangea and some hostas) but I look forward to this display growing in nicely over time. We've also had a few other trees planted on our lot over the years which will bring lovely shade in a decade or two.
And tucked off our porch is this sweet little sitting area. Repeating the brick and border pattern from the front walkway helps tie everything together. We didn't want anything too grand, just a small spot to put bbq and a couple of chairs to sit as you wait for the steaks and burgers to cook. We enjoy eating on our screened porch so didn't need this back patio to be larger than it's 8x10 footprint.
To create some privacy, this patio is surrounded by a few tall cedars, a large lilac bush, and more of the hydrangeas.
I love how finished and permanent the new landscaping makes our summer home feels. We're completely thrilled with Four Seasons Landscaping PEC and I highly recommend them if you need work done in Prince Edward County!
I can't wait to see how the garden changes over the seasons and over the years. The cottage interior looks great so it's nice to have the exterior looking good as well. I hope you've enjoyed this garden tour! #Cottage #PatioAndGarden #Exterior