This renovated Virginia Highlands is home to a renowned interior designer. She wanted to foster a connection between the home's contemporary interior and the natural beauty of the gardens to create spaces for entertaining guests and enjoying the ample bird and pollinator visitors. Small pockets of sunlight grow blueberries, herbs, and veggies, while the deeper shade of the enormous oak is reserved for lush woodland understory plants, many of which are medicinal or edible. 

secret sanctuary

residential portfolio

EST. 2008

To begin, the site was mostly lawn that struggled under a large oak tree onsite. The backyard felt exposed to close neighbors on either side, and the gutters drained at the foundation, causing issues with pooling water and a flooding crawl space.


site conditions





the garden

Featured images: large maple replaces an oak lost during a storm, and shade garden is augmented with native pollinator nectary plants; lawn replaced with no-mow organic groundcover; creeping fig living wall, and jasmine screening windows; jasmine along hidden trellis wires and rose archway entrance; jasmine along hidden trellis wires and rose archway; custom fountain and circular flagstone patio with moss; loquat, blueberry, hardy kiwi, & bioswale native perennials; low-mow shade tolerant lawn; outdoor dining, fountain, flagstone patio with moss; indoor/outdoor connection; upper terrace and dog-friendly lawn; woodland garden beneath oak; transition to the indoors; outdoor dining nestled in the garden; view from porch; 500-gallon cistern captures roof water; veggie garden and rain-fed irrigation; rain cistern overflow directs through vegetated bioswale.