Karch residence

The Karch residence from 1790 is located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, VA. It’s a townhome with two gardens, one side yard and one back yard, we’ll be concentrating on the back yard. When I first came in contact with the Karch family the two gardens looked awful. The uneven and old pavement was torn up, the few remaining plants were in very bad shape, it was ugly, dark, shady, slippery and very inhospitable but with a great potential to become spectacular. The owners wanted to improve the drainage, create space for entertaining, space for the BBQ and screen the AC units, everything on 20×20’ approximately! In my eyes it was a wonderful challenge and a very exciting project. To create space for entertaining and people to sit we built the horseshoe shaped stone seat wall around the patio. The idea to the flagstone star pattern came when I found out that Mrs. Karch loves quilts and is from Texas, the Lone Star State. The star is placed in the very centre of the perfectly sized flagstone circle that touches the wall of the house and the seat wall. The old brick was reused, installed around it (all on stone dust) forming concentric circles where very every single brick was cut to fit perfectly. To create drainage, there was none before; we installed a flo-well that has worked very well. The plant selection required some research. All the plants (Hydrangeas, Magnolias, Aucubas, ferns etc) with the exception of the Hostas were used in the late 18th century, perhaps not the exact same varieties but the intent was never to recreate a garden form that time, only to bring something from the past to our days with a little touch! I wanted to play more with texture and tones of green than colour, that’s why we used several chartreuse green plants because they stand out in the shade.