Tour a Terraced Garden Overlooking the Tennessee River

Stroll through an elegant Southern garden featuring over 120 varieties of roses, a multitude of hydrangeas, a Celtic-knot topiary and pear-tree espaliers.

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Layers of Beauty: A View From Above

Built in 1922, this 1-1/2 acre estate boasts four tiers of landscaping with seven distinct garden features. Designed by Ryan Gainey, the grounds are a mix of formal and cottage-style gardens. The upper tiers are all business with manicured lawns, a rose garden, pool and entertaining spaces. The bottom tiers, closest to the river, are more freeform with pathways twisting through beds of hostas, daylilies, hydrangeas and jasmine.

Watch the Video Tour: Riverfront Rose Garden

Italian Influence With Southern Charm

This gazebo is known as the "temple." The columns were salvaged from a bank that was being torn down in Nashville. Now they are wrapped in two types of climbing roses — 'White Success' and 'Lemon Meringue' — and serve as a focal point in the formal rose garden.

Symmetrical Rose Beds

Two 30-foot-long flower beds filled with roses create a grand pathway that leads from the house to the stone gazebo. The beds are filled with a variety of hybrid roses that are grown for their lovely fragrance, including 'Moonstone', 'Louise Estes' and 'Dream Come True'.

See More: 40 Mind-Blowingly Beautiful English Roses

Honeysuckle Obelisk

Between the rose garden and the house sit two square flower beds framed in boxwoods and anchored by obelisk-shaped trellises covered in honeysuckle. Candle lanterns on top of the trellises help illuminate evening gatherings in the rose garden.

Fire Pit Patio

On the terrace below the rose garden sits an 18-foot-wide, semi-circular patio with an in-ground fire pit. Wooden rocking chairs make it a cozy spot in which to feel the warmth of the fire and enjoy the river view below.

Espalier Fruit Trees

The rock walls behind the fire pit are curtained by pear and crabapple espalier trees. Training trees to grow flat in an espalier shape allows more sunlight to reach the trees' leaves and branches so they’ll bloom lusher and more frequently.

Learn More: How to Espalier

Knot Your Typical Vegetable Garden

On the same level as the fire pit and fruit trees is the vegetable garden. In between the typical tomatoes, peppers and cut flowers sits a topiary formed into a Celtic knot. The designer chose to put it on the second terrace of the garden so it can be viewed from above.

Two Tones of Boxwood

In order to get the multiple colors, the knot is formed from Korean boxwood and variegated Korean boxwood.

Learn More: Topiary Gardening Tips

The Pond Patio

The lily-pad filled pond, surrounding patio and rock wall are all original to the 1922 home. Tall magnolia trees and a row of plumbago provide a privacy wall on the far side of the patio.

See More Photos: 13 Inspirational Backyard Ponds and Pools

Architecture Influences Garden

The entire first floor of this 1920s home is covered in Boston Ivy. To play off the home’s color palette, the flowers surrounding the pool area all bloom white from spring to fall.

A Garden for Grandkids

Scattered throughout the property are statues of winsome cherubs and statues of children at play. The homeowners have a special fondness for these replicas of their grandchildren.

Hydrangea Corner

Stone corbels were repurposed into the base of a bench, creating the perfect place to stop and enjoy the blooming hydrangeas.

Learn More: Landscaping With Hydrangeas

Resting Ledge

This rock patio in the middle of the hillside provides a wonderful respite. Elfin thyme overflows from the rock crevices softening up the hard surfaces. A pair of classic stone planters filled with oak leaf hydrangeas flank each side of the bench.

Learn More: How to Grow Hydrangeas in Pots


As you descend the tiers, you’ll need to pass through various gates, arbors and archways, all of which are adorned with vines and climbing plants.

Don't Mind Being on a Slope

Some plants thrive on a steep hillside and they help hold the terrain in place. These daylilies love this sunny section of the slope. Solomon’s seal and hostas also do well on the incline, but they much prefer to stay in the shade.

Learn More: How to Grow Daylilies

Staircase Between the Ferns

The pathways and staircases that zigzag the hillside are not all the same, they’re made from a variety of materials in different styles. And because nothing in this garden’s design is haphazard, the railings and banisters on each staircase are made to match each walkway. Here, the rustic wood posts and heavy rope railing are sympatico with the woodchip-and-railroad-tie steps, thus giving the stairway a feeling that you’re climbing up to a treehouse.

A Little Whimsy Throughout

Quirky garden art like this climbing frog is found all around the estate tucked into rocks and along the pathways.

Purple Trees

A row of hydrangeas sits above a pathway shaded with black wrought-iron arbors (see next image). Sprouting up beyond the arbors are a group of vitex or Chastetree. These pollinator attractors are in the lilac family, but unlike their lilac cousins, vitex fares better in Southern climates.

Semi-Covered Walkway

A stone pathway is shaded by a set of arbors covered in clematis and jasmine and surrounded by hydrangeas, hostas and ferns.

See More: 40 Ideas for Creating the Perfect Pathway in Your Yard

Dock View

The view from the boat dock up to the house shows the bottom terrace — a lush riverside lawn. A stone and grass staircase underneath the vitex leads to the upper terraces and the house.

Lawn-Filled Stairs

Underneath the vitex trees, the staircase leading up to the house from the river is made from a stone frame filled with lush grass.

Watch the Video Tour: Riverfront Rose Garden

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