What else would you expect from a Dream Home than a perfect landscape? This landscape has the perfect view of the Georgia salt marshes and consists of many plantings.
The house is magnificent - a three-story Victorian-inspired home complete with a tower that soars to 45 feet. From there you can see storied Cumberland Island. From the back deck and much of the house, there's a sweeping view of the Georgia salt marshes. The marsh is everything you'd want it to be - a seemingly endless sea of grasses waving in the gentle winds, birds floating on the ribbons of water. A boat dock, topped with a screen room, caps the scene. This is HGTV's 2004 Dream Home.
One might think with a view that beautiful plus water access, it almost wouldn't matter what the landscaping looks like. But landscape architect Peter Langham found a way to give this house the setting it deserves, tying the house into the landscape and providing a seamless transition from landscape to marsh. He improved the view by slightly angling the lot so as to give full view of Point Peter Creek. He also raised the front yard to strengthen the view to the marsh beyond the home.
Although he infused drama into the landscape with three large pindo palms at the driveway entrance and an expansive lawn of St. Augustine grass flowing beneath live oaks, Peter's design is simple, intended to blur the line between the yard and the neighboring marsh. Black-needle rush and ornamental grasses such as miscanthus and crown grass harmonize with the multi-hued marsh grasses. Wax myrtles, 'Nellie R. Stevens' hollies, tea olives, Japanese yews and pineapple guava provide a buffer for the adjacent lot.
"What we tried to create here is very simple," Peter says. "It's a simplicity that carries from the marsh up to the house - the use of grasses, the lawn area. In the backyard we used grass to link the back porch to the dock and create a sense of space. It's very casual and elegant. The ornamental grasses in the backyard complement the grasses in the marsh. When you look at the horizon, it's very simple, and we wanted to recreate the horizontal look." The dream landscape includes more than 4,000 plants (including 23 different varieties), 375 bales of pine straw and more than 15,000 square feet of St. Augustine sod. It took 200-plus hours to design and supervise the project, and 20 truckloads of soil to raise the front yard.
"This is a place I could live in," says Peter. "You get the breezes, the salt from the marsh, the spectacular views, and this wonderful architecture that's been carefully positioned on the site to maximize the views."
With the simple, natural landscaping, the house, lawn and marsh come together as one. "The most important thing we try to do in our designs is create a sense of space and a place for the architecture. In this site, we have this beautiful marsh and beautiful house, so we wanted everything to blend together, to feel comfortable. It has the character and warmth a Dream Home should have."
A feather-leafed palm, the pindo palm has arching blue-green fronds whose upward-pointing leaflets form a V-shape. The trunk has thick, overlapping arched stubs curved outwards. Small (one-inch) round fruits taste a little like pineapple. Mature height of the pindo palm is about 15 feet. Zones 8 to 10b.
The state tree of Georgia and a landmark specimen in many southern coastal areas, the live oak may live many centuries, becoming a massive and picturesque tree with a broad canopy. New leaves are olive green. Mature size varies from 40 to 80 feet tall and 60 to 100 feet wide. Zones 7 to 10.
This fast-growing evergreen shrub or small tree bears one- to three-inch-long fruits that taste like pineapple and spearmint. Mature size of the shrub: 10 to 15 feet high and 10 feet wide. Pruning is required to encourage dense growth. Zones 8 to 10.
A fast-growing evergreen shrub that's common in southern landscapes, waxleaf privet can serve as a great privacy screen. Whitish flowers appear in late spring, and blue-black berries develop later. Unpruned, it can reach 50 feet tall with substantial girth.
A beautiful, wisp, broadleaf evergreen, the wax myrtle is tolerant of poor, sandy soils and salt air. In spring the new growth has a bayberry-like scent. Defoliates at 0 degrees.
A large shrub or small tree, the fragrant tea olive bears small white fragrant flowers in spring. Mature height: 20 to 30 feet tall. Zones 8 to 10.
An upright columnar shrub or tree, the Japanese has long dark green needle-like leaves. Reddish berries in fall. Slow grower to 20 to 35 feet tall and 10 to 18 feet wide. Zones 8 to 10.
A vigorous, relatively fast-growing holly that's often used for screening, 'Nellie R. Stevens' is the best holly for use in the South. Leaves are lustrous dark green and have two or three points on each side. Round red berries in fall. Mature size: 15 to 25 feet tall.
A graceful evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves, this small gardenia bears small, fragrant white double flowers. Mature size: two to three feet tall and a slighter wider spread. Zones 7b to 10.
A plant that's native to the southern coastal plains, the saw palmetto often forms a groundcover beneath tall pines. Clumps of blue-green palmate fronds appear close to the ground. Grow in full or partial sun. Mature size: three to six feet. Zones 8 to 10.
The standard yaupon holly is a small tree, usually about 15 to 20 feet tall. 'Nana' is a dwarf form, growing very slowly and averaging three to five feet tall and six to eight feet wide. Leaves are small, lustrous and dark green. Zones 7 to 10.
A large clumping palm which feels at home in the rainforest, the sago palm has a tall broad trunk and upright featherlike leaves. Give the sago palm full sun and copious amounts of water. Grows slowly to 10 feet tall and eight feet wide.
The plumes of this cultivar are pinkish in late summer and turn white as they age. Narrow blades give this ornamental grass a fine texture. Mature height of 'Adagio' is about one to three feet tall. Zones 6 to 9.
This salt-tolerant grass spreads via rhizomes to form a five-foot-tall groundcover in marshy areas.
A coarse-appearing grass (blades are fairly wide), this ornamental grass grows to about three to four feet high and wide. Zones 7 to 10.
This beautiful evergreen fern needs a shady location. New growth is reddish-bronze, eventually becoming medium to dark green. Mature size: 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Zones 5 to 8.
A vigorous groundcover, Asiatic jasmine (also called Japanese star jasmine) has small leaves and yellowish-white flowers in spring. Grows equally well in sun and shade. (Other groundcovers: St. Augustine grass and pinestraw)
This twining evergreen vine (also called star jasmine) bears fragrant creamy-white flowers in late spring. It can also be used as a groundcover. Give it shade. Zones (7) 8 to 10.
Blue flower clusters appear throughout the growing season atop three-foot stems. Herbaceous. Zones 8 to 11.
White flowers with blue and yellow markings appear atop two- to three-foot stems. Herbaceous. Zones 8 to 10.