Retreat for all seasons

How an outdoor room gives a woodland garden year-round appeal

Jim McCausland

 The room anchors a garden remodel that turned several problem areas into assets. The forest behind the house was once overgrown and impenetrable. Landscape designer Susan Calhoun cleared out the thicket, laid a network of gravel paths, and planted colorful, multitextured woodland plants.

The area also suffered from poor drainage, so Calhoun corralled the water and transformed an existing swale into a peaceful reflecting pond. First she deepened the swale and installed French drains ― trenches filled with coarse gravel or river rock ― to direct excess water to it. Then she added stones, ferns, and water-loving plants to make the pond look as if it had always been there.


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