Located in the heart of uptown New Orleans, a beautiful old home built in the 1920s sits on a small but exquisite lot nestled between the arching branches of live oaks. The owners, who use the home as a getaway in a truly special city, called upon landscape architect Marianne Mumford to renovate their garden. They wanted a quiet, lush sanctuary where they could relax and entertain. Marianne and her husband own Landscape Images, Ltd., a landscape architecture, contracting and maintenance firm. Marianne took on the challenge of incorporating the owners’ ideas and unique pieces from their travels to transform this lovely garden near Audubon Park.
The garden, created predominantly with textures of green and flowers of white, is “formal in nature and reflective of a French garden,” says Marianne. “It is orderly, crisp and sculpted with a variety of focal points.” New Orleans’ growing season lasts almost the entire year, and everything grows quickly. Where some hedges in the northern states might only be clipped once a year, Marianne says they have to clip the hedges about every three weeks—so maintenance of the garden is critical.
The beautiful urn in the front of the house is actually one of a pair found at Tomlin Antiques in Dallas. It took five men to carry the urns in and get them placed on the soft soil. The first urn holds court over the beautifully clipped and maintained boxwoods and yew hedges. The white caladiums add seasonal color and interest to the clean lines. The entire lot is heavily landscaped and immaculately maintained.
The sister urn in the backyard is tucked into a Japanese yew hedge that is pruned into an arching form. It provides a stunning focal point for the dining terrace and adds depth to the garden. The outdoor dining area, located just off the reading room, is shaded by a verdant Japanese maple that is at least 25 years old. This lovely tree makes a fabulous show in the spring with its lacy, light green foliage and then its splashy orange-to-red fall color, which is rare in New Orleans. Confederate jasmine climbs on the walls and perfumes the entire garden. All of the terraces are mixed flagstone that is seen quite often in the older gardens. This material blends seamlessly with the terracotta tiles on the roof and lends a French Provincial style to the house.
The lawn panel of empire zoysia that abuts the dining terrace and pool is lined with yaupon holly and boxwoods. Dwarf mondo grass is planted around the stepping stones and trees to create a lush floor. One side of the hedge is planted with white petunias and the other white Agapanthus for seasonal bloom.
Lots of plant material was lost during Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans gardens present a special challenge both due to the age of many gardens and the damage from Hurricane Katrina and other storms. As a result, many of the area’s beautiful gardens have enjoyed attention from multiple landscape architects, designers and homeowners who have lovingly restored and enhanced them through the years. In this lush garden, an older southern magnolia was lost and replaced with three specimen Alta magnolias that line the lawn and help to hide the garage.
The statue at the end of the lawn was found in a Paris flea market and serves as a focal point from the pool. The Japanese yew behind it has been pruned for years into an arching frame for the beautiful piece of antiquity. The hedge also hides a large gate that gives access to the garden.
The pool and its surrounding terrace were designed years earlier by landscape architect René Francen. The holly hedge, an antique itself, has survived many hurricanes and renovations and provides a beautiful surround for another antique statue.
Marianne explains that, “Many people gravitate to our formal garden designs since you can easily control the plant materials and maintain order.” This lush and verdant garden in the heart of the city is a beautiful example of how a garden, lovingly created and maintained by many talented hands, can provide a quiet sanctuary for its appreciative owners.
ABOUT THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Marianne Mumford, landscape architect, believes strongly in surrounding herself with customers who want to be proactive in their gardens and colleagues who are creative, spirited and can enthusiastically work as a team. Marianne and her husband, Alan Mumford, founded Landscape Images Ltd. in 1984 with the goal of transforming ordinary spaces into outdoor living environments. According to Marianne, the firm “ensures that your vision for your garden grows into a reality by maintaining our commitment to focus on the experience.”
Landscape Images enjoys sharing with clients an atmosphere of creativity and learning, from the process of design to the excitement of that first walk through the finished garden. As Marianne explains, “We are dedicated to presenting a fulfilling experience for you to enjoy during that process and in the way your garden makes you feel upon completion.” Landscape Images listens to client needs, explores possibilities and responds with solutions. This unique approach has distinguished Landscape Images as “the premier landscape company of choice” in the greater New Orleans area. Their strength lies in the diverse professional backgrounds of their team of landscape architects, horticulturists, irrigation technicians, arborists, carpenters and highly trained field associates.
Marianne is a member of the New Orleans Horticulture Society, the Association of Landscape Contractors of America and The New Orleans Town Gardeners.