A Mediterranean Oasis

Local landscape architectural firm Armstrong Berger creates a lavish Mediterranean garden in the heart of Dallas.

ENTERTAINING TERRACE: One of two outdoor rooms on the property, this space acts as an extension of the living room in the main house. Landscape architect Bruce Berger says that the clients had specific and very appealing ideas for their property and came armed with tear sheets from magazines to communicate their likes and dislikes. The existing trees contributed shade, texture, and scale to the property but otherwise “beyond the clients wishes “Bruce worked with a blank slate.


Lush Life
Landscape design firm Armstrong Berger creates a Mediterranean oasis in the heart of Dallas.

WATER TROUGH: Borrowing from the Italian flavor of a Medici villa, Armstrong Berger designed a pair of facing water troughs to flank the side entry to the property, one of which is shown here. The intention was to emphasize the play of texture, not just of plants but also of the hard surfaces throughout the garden. To the side, dichondra, a groundcover often used in California, ambles among the cobblestones on the path leading to the pool.

If creating a Mediterranean villa in an American suburb has its challenges, creating suitable landscaping is perhaps an even trickier proposition “though in Dallas we do have a slight advantage in terms of plant material. Our hardiness zone rating makes it far more plausible to landscape a Mediterranean villa here than, say, in Connecticut (Dallas is a zone 8, Monaco and Florence are in the 8 to 9 range).

Still, a Mediterranean-style garden requires more than rosemary bushes, Italian cypress, or a bocce ball court; it requires a plan that links the house to the grounds with a specific visual logic, which is why this Dallas property offers insights that will benefit anyone who is developing their front, back, or side yards. The landscape architectural firm Armstrong Berger created in this relatively compact space a series of outdoor vignettes that move from one to the next with as much ease as the water flowing in the stone trough they designed, seen on the following page. Bellisimo.

PORTICO: This outdoor space, complete with a stately fireplace, flows off of the kitchen in the main house and connects to the guest quarters. The hard surfaces throughout the back property are a combination of limestone and Arizona flagstone. SIDE YARD: Many people ignore the side yards, Bruce Berger says, but we were intent on creating courtyard and garden spaces all around the house.” The side yards are fully developed on both sides of the house, so the homeowners have a pleasing aesthetic from every window, as well as intriguing points of entry to the pool area in the back.

FOCAL POINT: Pebbles and shells were used to create a lattice pattern on the wall at the end of the pool area. The mosaic is covered with fig ivy, creating a simple but intriguing backdrop for the fountain. Ivy, climbing roses, and wisteria were used throughout the garden, not only for their aesthetic value but also because they are fast-growing and can lend the garden a mature appearance in just a few years. FOUNTAIN: Water elements were important to the clients, who wanted the soothing sound of water as a buffer so they could enjoy outdoor dining without the sound of nearby traffic.

INSTANT SCALE: Though the garden is only 18 months old, nothing in it suggests that it is brand-new.

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