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2018 Palladio Awards
Exterior Spaces: Gardens and Landscapes

Project: Farmhouse Garden
Winner: Haver & Skolnick Architects

kitchen garden, Haver & Skolnick Architects

To complement an early 19th-century-style gentleman’s farm that they designed for a family in Washington, Connecticut, Charles M. Haver, AIA, and Stewart R. Skolnick, AIA, of Haver & Skolnick Architects, created a traditional New England kitchen garden steeped in rustic simplicity.

“We wanted the garden and the stone house to look as though they had grown on site organically through the ages,” Skolnick says. “It’s a working garden—the owners pick food for their everyday meals.”

garden with berry bowl

The 6,000-square-foot, rectangular flower, vegetable, and fruit garden, which opens near the kitchen door, is planted on a cross-axial layout and features raised beds that include peonies, salvia, geraniums, and iris as well as broccoli, heirloom tomatoes and beets and a concealed sounds system.

garden gazebo
garden arbor

Accessed by gates from the four sides of the compass, the space is enclosed by a rustic fieldstone wall topped by a mahogany rail fence that’s wrapped in virtually invisible wire mesh. At 7 feet high, the wall is an elegant and effective way to keep the deer away. “It was inspired by the ancient walls on the property,” says Haver. “And outside, it supports three varieties of espaliered pear trees, so it blends with the landscape.”

The garden’s centerpiece, a twig-style gazebo with seating and a frieze inspired by stained-glass Chagall windows, provides a platform for winding wisteria vines. Its style is echoed in tepees and arbors.

The piece de resistance is what Haver and Skolnick have dubbed the Berry Bowl: A 20-foot-high, 25-foot-diameter steel dome covered in screen mesh that keeps the birds away from the family’s prized blueberries.

garden gate detail

The Berry Bowl, which references the 18th- and 19th-century domed structures of French architects Etienne-Louis Boullee and Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc as well as birdcages and screened pie protectors, is designed to rust gracefully through the seasons. The screening, whose holes are slightly less than one half of an inch, keeps the birds at bay yet allows bees to buzz in. Outside, shade-producing kiwi vines wrap around the dome like a shawl.

“It’s a piece of sculpture and a curiosity,” Haver says. “When people tour the garden, it’s the element they always talk about the most.”

Key Products, Materials & Suppliers 

Garden Plantings: Ronald LeBlanc, Grass and Gardens, Southbury, Connecticut
Vegetable Plantings: Lynn Dzinski, LeJardin, Unionville, Connecticut
Audio/Crestron Consultant: David Barson, Opus AVC, North Haven, Connecticut
Custom Lanterns and Brackets: Classic Lighting Devices, East Hampton, Connecticut
Outdoor Furniture: Kingsley Bate

kitchen garden with berry bowl
Stein Wood Products - IMGP9678

Stein Wood Products

Provider of imported wood floors, decking, and siding products.