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STYLE : GARDENS : Period Pool

June 28, 1992|ROBERT SMAUS

Built more than 80 years apart, this old house and new garden get along amazingly well--largely because owners Chris and George Benter were determined to preserve the integrity of the Craftsman home and its Pasadena neighborhood. "We wanted the garden to look like it had been built right along with the house," Chris Benter says. With that in mind, landscape architect Mark Berry didn't try to copy period gardens, nor did he attempt a restoration. But he did use design concepts and materials that were common at the time the house was built in 1907, capturing the essence of the era.

"Turn-of-the-century garden design depended on symmetry and balance," Berry says. "You've got to pay attention to those center lines," referring to how landscape elements are aligned. The path leading to the new swimming pool, and even the steps inside the pool, are on a straight line drawn out the living room doors; a sunny area at one end of the pool balances a shady patio at the other. Berry elevated the pool to make it look more like a reflecting pond, which is characteristic of an older garden. It is also less conspicuous because only the flower beds and arroyo stone walls are visible from the house and patio. Instead of brick, the coping and paving are made of concrete. The deeply scored pattern matches the original driveway and front walk, and the slight tint adds to the aged appearance.

Period plants--hydrangeas, roses, camellias and annuals--fill the beds. And specimen-sized trees, including tabebuias and purple-leafed plums, help create the impression that this is a mature garden when, in fact, it is simply a precocious 4-year-old.

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