Tour an Animal Lover’s Garden

This Atlanta garden combines an artist’s love of pets and Paris.

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Feeding Time

As a kid, Atlanta artist Ann-Marie Manker cared for hamsters, parakeets, a rabbit, a dog and a cat. Now, she has chickens. Her brood includes Olive, Greggs (whose name comes from combining “green” and “eggs”), Grits, Buffy, Chipmunk, Popcorn, Allie, Zesto, and Nugget, the rooster.

Cozy Character

String lights and screened doors welcome guests to Ann-Marie Manker and Todd Briner’s 1920s home and garden in a historic Atlanta neighborhood. Containers from yard sales, thrift shops and garden stores join unique and antique finds, such as an old washing machine-turned-cooler.

Home Sweet Home

A sign painted by artist Ann-Marie Manker for her Atlanta chicken coop connects with her French-inspired garden. She got the idea after seeing an illustration in a mid-century children’s book.

Coop Life

The wood coops in the run are from GreenChickenCoop.com, and the green egg-shaped coop is from Fab.com. “It was meant to be a dog bed, but was better suited for the chickens,” Ann-Marie Manker says.

Chicken Whisperer?

Ann-Marie Manker forges a strong bond with her chickens, especially Buffy, who she rescued from two women who bought chickens to take Instagram photos and fed them Corn Flakes in their apartment. “I cover her up like my hand is a wing and she starts to make the sound young birds only make when they’re snuggling under their moms. It’s really sweet,” she says. “She puts her little head in here and goes to sleep.”

Home for Animals

Ann-Marie Manker had added plants to the fenced chicken run to create a beautiful environment for her flock of 10 chickens and a rabbit, but they ate them within a week. Now, it’s just dirt, dust and a lot of poop, she says. The coop is from GreenChickenCoop.com.

Park-Like Setting

After she visited gardens in Paris, Ann-Marie Manker fantasized about providing a place for people to sit and read in her Atlanta garden. In the center planter, a Japanese maple is surrounded by dwarf mondo grass and ‘Burgundy Glow’ ajuga (also known as bugleweed).

Pet Portrait

Tiki freely trots through the garden, including hanging out on the brick center planter filled with ‘Burgundy Glow’ ajuga (also known as bugleweed) and dwarf mondo grass. Because her dogs play in the yard, Ann-Marie Manker is careful not to use plants that are toxic to animals.

Inspired by Paris

The Atlanta garden mimics the symmetry of Place de Vosges, one of Paris’ oldest planned squares. Ann-Marie Manker drew her idea for a landscaping company who assisted her in creating a garden with brick, paths and multiple beds.

Chic Cooler

A vintage washing machine gets a new use as a cooler. Ann-Marie Manker and her husband Todd Briner found the appliance at an antiques market in Atlanta and immediately thought of using it to hold ice and drinks.

Unique Finds

Cacti growing in a donkey planter were plucked from a wild, winter-hardy cacti Ann-Marie Manker found growing in the sidewalk. “Many of my succulents started off plucked from mature plants,” she says. The planter is from an Atlanta antiques store.

Garden Souvenirs

Ann-Marie Manker has brought home garden accessories from her travels, including a mossy-faced gnome from a flea market in Amsterdam.

Going Green

Ann-Marie Manker can’t remember what she planted in this container, chosen for its color, but she gave the plant (and a matching one) fun French names – Jacques and Jacqueline. Dozens of hydrangeas and hostas fill the beds.

Old and New

A gate—previously near the home’s back porch—now serves as a buffer between the homeowners’ dogs, and their chicken coop and parking area. The repurposed gate was stained to match the partial fence and custom fenced chicken run. Ann-Marie Manker and Todd Briner purchased the pots visiting family in Southwest Florida during the holidays.

City Setting

A row of arborvitae adds dimension to a bland concrete wall separating the Atlanta property from an apartment complex. The garden owners have made friends with some of the renters, who can look down onto the ‘Little Woody’ Eastern redbud trees, beds with blueberries and strawberries, and herbs and tomatoes growing in containers.

Custom Chicken Run

The screened chicken run was designed around a tree and crafted by a neighbor who is a carpenter. Curtains provide shade for its residents – 10 chickens and a rabbit. ‘Little Woody’ eastern redbud trees were planted next to it.

Waiting to Bloom

A weeping cherry rises out of a garden bed, surrounded by hydrangeas, hosta and Chinese fringe-flower. Homeowner Ann-Marie Manker was driving through Atlanta in spring 2014 and saw the weeping cherry tree, which had white blossoms reaching the ground. She thought to herself, “I have to have one.”

Casual Seating

Retro-looking metal chairs—passed down from downsizing neighbors— are one of the many spots to sit in the park-like yard. Behind the chairs, there are Japanese maples, creeping Jenny and large rocks. The table is accessorized with a bonsai tree.

Earthy Palette

A wrought iron bench, next to a second green-hued container in the Atlanta yard, is situated in front of a bed with hostas, hydrangeas and a weeping cherry (not pictured).

Mixing Materials

Brick is a big element in the Parisian-inspired garden. Using pea gravel, instead of all brick, was a cost-effective option. The gravel adds a charming soundtrack when Ann-Marie Manker is tending to her garden or entertaining guests around the clawfoot fire pit purchased at an Atlanta antique market.

Tiny Creatures

Artist Ann-Marie Manker cast and painted the rabbits, and when she ran out of space at her studio, she gave them new homes in her Atlanta garden.

Vintage Style

The screened back porch is decorated with art and sculptures of woodland creatures, plus a series of pastel pieces from one of gardener Ann-Marie Manker’s art installations.

Quirky Planter

The fern-like stem of the Asparagus plumosus growing inside a vintage squirrel planter has the same bushy appearance as a squirrel’s tail.

Jade and Cacti

Petite mid-century planters of horses, ducks and bunnies contain jade and various cacti. Ann-Marie Manker’s favorite jade plant is from a clipping still growing in the backyard of her childhood home, in Long Beach, Calif. The mother jade was planted in the 1960s, and Manker’s mom brought her clippings during an Atlanta visit.