Tour a Storybook-Worthy Atlanta Garden

For 20 years, Carole McWilliams has transformed a wooded lot in suburban Atlanta into a diverse garden of roses, perennials and bird-attracting trees. 

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Intriguing Entry Garden

The entry garden at Carole and Jim McWilliams' suburban home is a picket fence-enclosed room spilling with roses, perennials, annuals and shrubs, making for an inviting entrance. The McWilliams have lived in their Sandy Springs, Georgia, home for more than 22 years. A Master Gardener, Carole has transformed the five acres into a woodland sanctuary with the assistance of designer Tim Stoddard.

Welcoming Doorway

Planters of boxwood topiaries flank the front door with a pink climbing rose partially shrouding the porch.

Partially Enclosed Garden Rooms

A boxwood arbor gives structure to the rose and perennial garden, while a side arbor makes for an inviting seating area.

Adding Structure

A boxwood parterre lend structure to the rose and perennial garden, while a side arbor provides seating space for taking it all in.

Breathtaking Fragrances

Roses play a big part in McWilliams' garden, and one of her favorites is this pink 'Applejack' variety.

For the Birds

Carole McWilliams collects birdhouses wherever she travels. Her garden is a wildlife habitat certified by the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation. 

Multiple Levels Add Interest

Carole McWilliams takes a stroll during a coffee break to check out what's in bloom in the shade garden. Craftsman Buzz Stone designed the rustic wood railings for the stairway.

Wintertime Delight

During winter months, one of McWilliams' favorite places to "play" is her greenhouse, nestled along the banks of her woodland garden.

Indoor Play Time

In the greenhouse, McWilliams loves to experiment in spring and summer with different varieties of agaves and other succulents.

Pots Galore!

Container gardens line pathways, steps, even planting beds. Atlanta garden designer Tim Stoddard often helps McWilliams create many of the potted wonders.

The View's the Thing

The expansive rear deck of the house, draped with New Dawn roses, overlooks the terraced hillside woodland garden.

Griller's Delight

Nestled between the house and the garage is a cozy outdoor kitchen, complete with stacked stone fireplace. Hydrangeas soften the harsh surfaces and help enclose the space.

Climbing Beauties

McWilliams likes to mix vines, such as this clematis with roses, for extending the season with continuous color.

Soothing Sounds

Sculptures accent the large terraced water garden within the back shade garden, providing relaxing sound for the entire site.

Unique Plant Palette

One of the more unusual plants in McWilliams' garden is this graceful Weeping Katsura tree beside the water garden.

Fun House

McWilliams spends hours in her charming potting shed, adorned with window boxes that spill with seasonal color.

Potting Patrol

The potting shed is a gardener's dream space, ideal for all sorts of projects, especially during the cold gray days of winter.

All in the Details

An old turquoise painted iron bench makes quite the statement in the entry garden, surrounded by perennials and annuals. 

Sitting Pretty

A rustic arbor in the woodland garden lends a relaxing spot for a swing and taking in the many birds that flock to the site.