A Beginner’s Guide To The Naturalistic Garden
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A Beginner’s Guide To The Naturalistic Garden

Love the frowzy, painterly aesthetic of a wild-looking garden, the latest trend in landscaping, but unsure where to begin?

By Catherine Romano
Thu, Aug 25, 2022 9:28amGrey Clock 2 min

LANDSCAPE DESIGN continues to grow less formal—more prairie than pruned, more meadow than managed. Adhering to the practice of “right plant, right place,” even to the point of choosing only native flora, promises to better support birds and bees, and to require fewer resources, including water and the sweat of your brow.

To aid gardeners interested in dipping their beaks in the loose look of naturalistic planting, we asked two experts how to get started with 500 square feet of terrain. They observed that squeezing the style into that space was much like covering this complex topic in these 500 words, but they were game, suggesting ways to simplify down to fewer species and layers.

The best way to begin: Lay down what Benjamin Vogt, author of “Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design” (University of Illinois Press, January 2023), calls the matrix level, and Adam Woodruff, a landscape designer in Marblehead, Mass., refers to as the ground cover or base layer. Not to be confused with the layman’s idea of ground cover, such as ajuga or English ivy, this foundational layer, from 6 to 12 inches tall, is meant to function like a canvas, accounting for about 50% of your plant material. “There’s a uniform green in the landscape that ties it all together,” said Mr. Vogt, owner of Monarch Gardens, a landscape design firm in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.

For the novice, an ideal base layer is a perennial bunching grass planted 12 to 16 inches apart on centre. Mr. Vogt said he might opt for a short variety, such as the native Little Bluestem shown in the photo at left. In the photo at right, Mr. Woodruff used suitable but non-native Sesleria, or Autumn Moor Grass.

In a 500-square-foot plot, Mr. Vogt would restrict the second layer, often called the seasonal theme layer, to plants 24 inches to 30 inches tall and, for the sake of scale, forgo the typical third layer of larger plants. Optimal for the second layer: groups of perennials or self-seeding annuals with light and water needs similar to each other and to the matrix plant. A good mix: one species that flowers early in the season, one later. Ideally both have leaves that contrast with the grass and (come fall) pretty seed heads so your garden is attractive year round.

Plants can be quite close. “Density is very important to the success of this style of planting,” said Mr. Woodruff. Mr. Vogt goes so far as saying “Throw plant tags away.” If planted densely, the garden knits together more quickly, usually within a year. Weeds are suppressed, and mulching becomes a thing of the past.

Parting advice: Before you put spade to earth, “research the heck out of plants,” said Mr. Vogt. Mr. Woodruff recommends “The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden,” by Roy Diblik (Timber Press, 2014).

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 13, 2022.



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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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On the Market for the First Time, This Hamptons Beach House Is Listed for Nearly $26 Million

The home in the village of Sagaponack has plenty of balconies to take in the surrounding water views

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Tue, Apr 23, 2024 3 min

A waterfront home in the Hamptons village of Sagaponack, New York, is on the market for the very first time.

Asking $25.95 million, the gray shingle-style home was built in 2008 by the seller and has since been available as a summer rental, but it’s never been up for sale.

Designed by architect Faruk Yorgancioglu, the “waterfront home offers privacy and panoramic beauty that cannot be duplicated under today’s zoning laws,” said co-listing agent Marilyn Clark of Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage.

Jaime Lopez for Sotheby’s International Realty

The seller bought the property, which at the time had two small structures, at auction in 2005 for approximately $2 million, according to co-listing agent Deborah Pirro of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. Mansion Global could not contact the seller.

The home hit the market Thursday, and in addition to Clark and Pirro, it is co-listed by Raquel Lopez of Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage and Diane Anderson of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.

Spanning 6,000 square feet, the home is filled with bright interiors, which were designed by New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel. The open gourmet kitchen flows into a casual dining area and a living space with a fireplace, which is one of two double-sided fireplaces in the home, Pirro said.

A sunroom overlooks the water.
Jaime Lopez for Sotheby’s International Realty

“The placement and scale of fireplaces throughout the home is perfection,” she added.

A separate dining room has French doors that open onto a deck, listing photos show.

There are six en-suite bedrooms, including two primary bedrooms. The larger of the two is its own private retreat, outfitted with a fireplace, a sunroom and a large balcony, offering a space to watch the sun set over Sagaponack Pond, according to Sotheby’s.

Jaime Lopez for Sotheby’s International Realty

The home sits on a little more than an acre of waterfront land, bordering Sagaponack Pond, where there’s a private dock, and looking out at the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

“The location on the pond with the view of the ocean waves breaking is spectacular and unique,” Clark said. “You are close to beaches and the Sagaponack General Store. It is a quick paddle to the famous Sagg Main Beach.”

Other outside amenities include a gunite swimming pool and a hot tub, which are surrounded by a spacious deck, as well as a pool cabana, which has a full bathroom, changing rooms and a sauna. There’s also multiple balconies, decks and a screened porch overlooking the pool, striking a balance between indoor and outdoor living.

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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