Printer Friendly

A garden that's too good to be true.

Artful illusion transformed this cramped rear yard

ALWAYS IN BLOOM, never needs water, takes up no space, has no bugs, and requires no spraying: these are some of the virtues of the plants that line and brighten this small rear garden. If you think these maintenance-free plants seem too good to be real, you're right.

Jan and Vince Arcaro's yard in Toluca Lake, California, used to be hemmed in by the blank walls of their two-story house, their garage, and a neighbor's garage. They would have liked to soften it with plants, but there were only small beds near each garage, and they wanted to preserve the lawn for their children to play on.

So they turned for help to Peeter Alvet and Nancy Turner, a Los Angeles husband-and-wife team, who design and paint gardens for spaces with limited room or with soil and light inadequate for growing real plants. While most people look at a stucco or concrete-block wall and see a wall, Turner and Alvet see these hard surfaces as canvases destined to become lush, verdant gardens.

Their treatment is especially effective when the painted gardens serve as a backdrop for real plants. The foreground beds blend seamlessly with the faux gardens, making small spaces seem larger and more densely planted--precisely the effect that the Arcaros desired.


Turner and Alvet used narrow rollers on 6-foot extension poles to dab leaves and roll vines on the Arcaros' blank walls. Leaf masses were built up with overlays of progressively lighter colors (10 shades of green were used for the bougainvillea alone). This technique gives the painted plants a quality closer to impressionism than photorealism. Examined up close, the plants seem out of focus, though they otherwise appear remarkably natural.

The top layer of details was applied with brushes. After Turner and Alvet completed each painting, they sealed it with semigloss clear polyurethane.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Building a better mailbox.
Next Article:September menus.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters