Landscape By Terrain: A Historic Garden


Rooted in local history, a property in Swarthmore, PA proved to be one of Landscape By Terrain's most exciting projects this summer. Working to preserve and complement the historic plants that anchor the landscape, our team paired traditional touches with modern improvements for a one-of-a-kind garden. We caught up with Landscape Designer Nathan T. to learn more about the revitalization of this uniquely beautiful property and its connection to terrain history.

Nathan says, "This home was built in the late 1910's using local stone; its style is inspired by the big, traditional estates in the Philadelphia area. A member of the board at J. Franklin Styer Nurseries-- now the home of terrain at Styer's-- designed the gardens and did many of the plantings for the first owners. Our current clients really wanted to preserve the historic elements of the property, so we started by taking a plant inventory to discover what was special about the landscape. The next step was finding ways to update the existing features while staying sincere to the original design. We chose new varieties of historic plant types that were already in the gardens, then worked very gently and carefully to renovate the patio and other hardscape areas, making sure to match the stonework on the house."

"The entire property is set up to create the feeling of rooms throughout the landscape," Nathan tells us. "My favorite element is a grouping of magnolias. While it feels continuous, there are also lots of secret gardens and vistas to discover. And thanks to a backdrop of evergreens, most of the garden will have some interest throughout the year. We also incorporated plant masses, not just flowering specimens, that will enliven the landscape as the seasons change."

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