A Landscape Design Inspired by the Hamptons
April 13, 2023
This landscape designed by Kathryn Herman manages to be untamed and structured all at once.
Text by Erika Ayn Finch Photography by Neil Landino
Sometimes it takes a moment for a home, even a new build, to come into its own. That was certainly the case for Kathryn Herman’s New Canaan clients, who took time settling into their Brooks & Falotico-designed house before reaching out to Herman about the corresponding 1.8-acre landscape.
A streamlined pool was already in place, and the property included wildflower wetlands (originally planted by Penn Marchael of Pennington Grey) that needed to be preserved. “The clients have a summer home in eastern Long Island,” says Herman, “and they wanted their primary residence to have a similar feel.”
That area of Long Island, says Herman, is known for open fields that border manicured landscapes, so the design team set out to achieve the same effect in New Canaan. They shaped the perimeter of the rangy wetlands to feel less organic and more crafted, with a sharp edge that distinguishes the two zones. Ilex crenata hedges break up the openness and provide privacy. Herman’s team improved circulation around the pool with a graphic checkerboard installation of West Hill Granite pavers that echoes the strong lines of the hedges and edge of the wetlands.
A raised yoga and meditation garden studded with ceramic seats that resemble oversized pebbles sits below the second-floor primary suite. Glacial erratics found on-site were relocated to places of prominence and treated almost like sculptures. So were various trees, including two crab apples, a dogwood, fastigiate hornbeams, and a magnolia. Because flowers fill the wetland portion of the landscape, the design team focused on texture and structure throughout the rest of the property.
“It’s crisp but wild,” says Herman. “We did a lot of editing to make the space feel bolder while at the same time calm and composed. The landscape responds to the pool, house, and broader surroundings, but it’s very impactful.” And completely worth the wait.