Beauty Punctuated By Green Practices In Charlotte Landscape

Posted on | July 25, 2014 | No Comments

When Jenny Pippin of Pippin Home Designs took on the task of completely redesigning her own home, the results were bold, unique and truly beautiful. However, the remodel left her with a landscape in desperate need of repair and renovation. She knew just who to call – longtime friend and Charlotte area landscape designer Jan Enright of Jan Enright Creations. The two had worked together on many projects, and Jenny knew that Jan was certainly up for the challenge. North Carolina Design talked to Jan to get her take on the project and some of the finer points of this successful design.

Images Courtesy of Jan Enright Creations and Artist Eye Photography ©

Two big challenges awaited Jan when she began. The first was the fact that the site had been completely upended by the home renovation. “Jenny warned me that it was going to be bad. But when I got there, I was shocked. I thought, ‘This just looks horrendous. How am I going to do this?’”

The second and most significant challenge was designing a landscape that would fit into the steeply sloped site. “I had to figure out a way to work with the land’s steep grading, and figure out what to do with the existing retaining walls. I was able to break the slope into sections of plantings and create layers in the terrain to establish a cohesive look.”

As a designer, Jenny had some very specific ideas for her landscape. “She wanted an Asian flair,” Jan recalls. “I used some feng shui principles and incorporated some Asian-inspired plantings. And when you look at aerial photos of the landscape, the major bed in the front is actually in a yin-yang shape.”

Jenny is passionate about using green building practices – a fact which Jan took to heart. “Jenny specifically wanted the landscape to feature as many green concepts as possible,” Jan affirms. “We went with easy-to-maintain plants, and took care to plant them in the right places so that they would grow without stress and wouldn’t need high amounts of fertilizer, water and care.

“We set up a system so that rainwater from the roof is collected into cisterns and used for irrigation,” she continues. “We also managed the amount of turf on the property, as turf takes lots of fertilizer and water. Jenny did need a lawn for her dogs, but we used indigenous Bermuda grass, which requires very little water.”

Jan was careful to add little touches that truly reflected Jenny’s personality. “I wanted the landscape bring her a lot of joy, and things to look forward to,” she explains. “Jenny loves purple. We added a purple butterfly bush for some summer color, and capillaris grass for a smoky purple haze in fall. We also designed a pond with waterfalls, big boulders and lots of fish and frogs. It gets frequent visits from dragonflies, which are one of her favorite symbols.”

While the project was daunting, Jan thoroughly enjoyed it. “Understanding Jenny’s needs was really easy, because I know her so well and we’ve collaborated on so many projects together. However, the design itself was a real challenge. In the end, that’s what I actually loved about the project — there was so much to overcome and so many different criteria needed to be met in this one space. But I did it, and I did it with love – and it was a success.”

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