Tour the Gorgeous Garden at One of Charleston's Most Beautiful Historic Mansions

Want to be transported back in time? This elegant, European-meets-Southern garden in the heart of Charleston sits on a luxe block where celebrities and millionaires dwell.

February 04, 2020

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Classic Charleston

This lovely historic three-story Charleston home, the William C. Gatewood House, is one of the city's most beautiful. Owner Sarah Horton has done a meticulous, historically thoughtful interior restoration of the home with noted New York architect G.P. Schafer, known for his work on traditional, historic spaces. Like the interior of the home, Horton and husband Ozey's garden is framed by gorgeous old oak trees and planted with an array of classic Southern plants and boasts a garden design created by famed New York landscape designer Deborah Nevins.

A Grand Entrance

The home's allée (a promenade/pathway in a formal French garden bordered by trees or bushes) features enormous potted Meyer lemon trees and a bed of crushed oyster shells. The shells, which are often used for landscaping in Charleston, are priced according to whether they are intact or crushed.

Shades of Green

A soft, heritage green complemented with peach and navy unifies furniture, planters and accessories in this guest house courtyard designed by Deborah Nevins.

Sideyard Style

The 9,500-square-foot 1843 Greek revival Horton home is a classic Charleston sideyard house whose garden occupies one side of the home's lot. A fanciful red and white striped buggy is one way to traverse the city's historic streets in style.

Continuity in Design

Mondo grass and more oversized terra cotta containers filled with boxwoods define the front walkway of the Horton house.

Southern Charm

The Horton home features several of the classic open-air piazzas with their characteristic high ceilings that define old Charleston homes.

Courtyard Cool Down

A raised plunge pool offers a respite from the Southern heat and a peaceful focal point in the main courtyard of this Charleston garden.

An Private Compound

The Horton home feels like a private compound with its sideyard and back carriage house creating a contained sense of privacy. In the foreground right is the kitchen house wing of the home. The kitchen house was originally kept separate from the main home to avoid the potential for a fire spreading to the home. But it was eventually linked to the main house with a two-story connecting structure that locals call a "hyphen." A gorgeous magnolia tree shades the courtyard garden.

Bird's Eye View

From the kitchen house, one can look down to the pool and courtyard of the Horton home. Oversized terra cotta pots throughout the space give a design unity to the outdoor design and blend well with the brickwork.

Classic Home, Classic Flower

The quintessential Southern shrub, the hydrangea, naturally makes an appearance in this Charleston garden.

Guest Quarters

Think Sarah Horton's stunning Charleston mansion is extraordinary? Even more suprises await as you walk deeper into this garden protected from the street by an iron gate that only hints at the delights to come. Tucked behind the home's courtyard is a 2,100-square-foot guest house, a former carriage house whose redesign was overseen by architect Gil Schafer, who also worked on the main home's restoration. The guest house contains a kitchen, living and dining room and three cozy bedrooms and three baths.

Global Mix

Chinoiserie-style outdoor lanterns, Versailles-style planters painted a subtle green and the typical Charleston oyster shell mulch create a magical space that blends influences from around the world.

Year-Round Living

Versailles planters hold olive trees and generous terra cotta planters are filled with boxwoods in the courtyard outside the Horton guest house.

Beyond the Garden Wall

Charleston is famous for its elaborate, traditional gardens. But it's hard to think of one more beautiful than the Sarah and Ozey Horton garden with its series of outdoor rooms leading one to the other. A massive wooden gate painted a striking ebony separates the main courtyard garden with pool from the guest house garden beyond in this European-meets-Southern space masterminded by landscape designer Deborah Nevins.

Moment of Rest

With a garden this beautiful, it's important to provide plenty of opportunity for you or your guests to contemplate the exquisite surroundings. Perfect for both grand and cottage gardens, a French-style metal cafe table and chairs give a touch of the Tuileries to this Charleston courtyard garden.

Holding Court at the Guest House

The courtyard directly outside the guest house is carpeted with oyster shells and an array of charming vignettes like this moment that could have been captured in the South of France, save for the "Oysters" bucket.

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