Waterside Retreat: Serene Lake House and Garden

At this lake house in New Fairfield, Conn., smooth stone steps and a gently sloping yard create an effortless transition down to the water. Along the way, the owners can enjoy the sight and sweet fragrance of hydrangea bushes in bloom, not to mention go for a leisurely swing in their hammock.

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

Photo By: Rich Pomerantz

House Exterior and Front Yard

In this sloped front yard, there had been a problem with water runoff from the road and driveway. The solution is as pretty as it is practical: Liriope as a ground cover slows down and filters the water. And in August, it blooms with a collection of small flowers.

Front Door and Stone Walkway

The path up to this home's front door used to be straight and rigid. In the garden makeover, designers softened it with extra large field stones in different shapes. A border of liriope is a feathery border between a small pond and the walkway.

Front Courtyard and Gravel Garden

Instead of a front lawn, which requires lots of water, landscape designers planned a simple, green-on-green garden mulched in pea gravel. A Stewartia is the focal point. Irregular stepping stones help soften the crisp angles of the house.

Rill With Water Lilies

A rill filled with water lilies is pretty outside the door and peeked at through the windows of the house.

Granite Deck and Lake View

Looking out to the lake from a granite deck, it's just possible to see a private patio peeking out from behind a bank of Hydrangea Endless Summer.

Garden and Lake View With Boat

This garden, with sweeping lake views, has plants that keep their glory even in the winter months.

Rock Garden With Blue Hydrangeas

A rock garden is filled with hydrangeas, shrubs and grasses that are beautiful any time of year.

Backyard With Birch Tree

A big birch tree shades this backyard in the afternoon. The yard slopes down significantly as it reaches lake's edge, so a rock garden with larger and then smaller boulders makes that transition feel more natural.

Granite Steps and Rock Garden

In the makeover of this backyard, designers wanted the landscape to blend well with the natural terrain and the lake. The steps are granite and pair with the rock garden.

Lake View and Blue Hydrangeas

Purple-blue hydrangeas make a colorful appearance at the edge of this private lakefront patio.

Rock Garden and Stairs

This garden is the main view from the home's living room and master bedroom, so the landscape designer filled it with shrubs, grasses and perennials that would look pretty all year round.

Dock and Stone Patio With Chairs

To gracefully transition from the home's main level down to the lake, designers terraced the property with boulders and stone walls. Buffer gardens along the water's edge help protect the lake.

Lakefront Backyard With Buffer Garden

Buffer gardens, gardens planted between the yard and lake's edge, help prevent runoff and fertilizers from polluting the water. The buffer also helps discourage visiting geese.

Lake and Hammock

Lakeside nap in a hammock? Yes, please! Plantings were designed to be a gentle buffer between water and land.

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