Painter-Somermeyer Residence

A French Parterre Garden in the City

St. Paul, Minnesota
MNLA Honor Award, Residential RearYard Design

The goals and objectives were as follows:

  1. To create a formal, French style garden
  2. To design a terrace connecting the deck with the landscape
  3. To provide screening and enclosure to the back yard space

The client desired a small terrace area at the bottom of the steps and an organized, formal design solution to the backyard. The simple geometry of the deck was extended into the landscape to determine the proportions and form of the bluestone terrace and lawn. The lower area, adjacent to the garage, would lend itself well to a sunken, private garden.

A traditional, European quartered garden or French parterre was envisioned with clipped hedges and a central focal point of a Gothic fountain. Inside the four equal rectangles of the garden, the design allows for these planting beds to be changed each year. In the first season, the beds were planted with white alyssum and Morden blush roses.

The client desired to keep the color simple and elegant. We selected many complementary shades of green interspersed with accents of white. Hints of pink and blue were incorporated into the color palette to create a subtle and delicate feel to the garden space. Overall, the backyard space of this urban residence is enclosed and privatized by the use of a variety of plants, all of which are consistent with and reinforce the overall concept to create an elegant, formal garden.