living — 2016 — Washington, DC

Capitol Hill Music Box

What is the potential of landscape architecture with a footprint smaller than most rooms in your home?

Can it be a space for entertaining; for morning coffee; for storage; for a garden? Can it be a place of music?

Even the smallest gardens deserve great landscape architecture. This urban courtyard reclaims a space leftover when an infill townhouse was built. The garden reveals the potential of a space that is only 8’ wide. Welcome to the 8’ Garden!


Photos by Allen Russ

Slayton concept sketch

Architecture & Garden Connections

Slayton plan
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA

Vertical layers, depth through lighting, and an open view to the sky create a rich experience despite the modest size of the space.

Slayton detail sketch
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA

Detailed vertical layering maximizes the space.

Soft Fascination

The fountain and bronze backdrop are visible through the length of the townhouse. Bronze is incorporated into the custom fountain & entry gate and will patina as the garden ages. The plant textures and moving water provide experiences of “soft fascination” from the house and garden.

Dimmable lights in the overhead planters, behind the panel, and above the water feature allow the garden to talk in varied tones.

A thirteen-foot privacy screen is used in the corner that abuts a neighbor’s deck. The height and location of the screen allow for built-in storage benches and overhead planters. Shade tolerant perennials and hanging plants provide texture, color, and a break from the horizontal lines of the privacy screen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Garden as a Music Box

The garden was envisioned as a music box. Wood screens enclose the space and, like an instrument, reflect the sounds of the fountain. Plants break the horizontal planes. A downlight highlights the movement of the water at night.

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA

Plants, stone, wood, and metals were selected to provide textural variation and depth.

Plant Palette

[vine]                                      Hydrangea petiolaris                Climbing Hydrangea 

Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_03
Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_02

[perennial]                                    Astilbe chinensis                'Visions in White' Astilbe

[Perennial]                                    Tiarella cordifolia          'Elizabeth Oliver' Foamflower

Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_06
Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_05

[Perennial]                                    Polystichum acrostichoides        Christmas Fern

[Perennial]                                    Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' Creeping Jenny    

Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_04
Capitol Hill Music Box Plant_01

[Perennial]                                    Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'  Japanese Forest Grass

Type

Living

Project Architect

N/A

Landscape Contractors

Oldetowne Historic        Landscapes, Inc.

Square Footage

112 SF                       

                         

Time Span

2015 - 2016

Location

Washington, DC