Planting the Landscape
Once the hardscape is finished, Roger will move quickly to get plantings established before the winter. The plan calls for a mix of shrub and perennial borders, but the centerpiece is an "orchard" of 12 tree-form hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata 'Pink Diamond'), which will grow to about 14 feet tall and just as wide. Their size is a good scale for the cottage, says Roger. "And the nice thing about hydrangeas is they provide color most of the year," with white flowers in summer that turn pink in fall and dry to a rich bronze in winter. Hubbard arranged the trees to form an allee down the middle of the property, giving the homeowners a sight line to the public park that abuts the back of their property.

As much as the Bernards love their expansive backyard, they'd also love to spend less time behind the lawn mower. So Roger will replace much of the lawn with ground cover and shrubs, especially in the shady peripheral zones. "Pulling in the sides of the lawn will create a false perspective that actually makes the property look bigger," says Hubbard. She even suggested including a wildflower meadow, a mix of tall fescue grass and native perennials.

The Bernards have decided to hold off on planting that whimsical touch for now, though they can always add it later. Done well, it would need mowing only once or twice a year, which would leave the family with more time to sit back on a terrace and enjoy their new backyard.
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