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Moving the entry path gave them a private court in front.

Moving the entry path gave them a private court in front

A less direct approach can often lead to pleasant surprises. By relocating the entry path off to the side of this Seattle house, landscape architect Thomas L. Berger created an inviting entry court screened from the street.

The front yard was the most logical spot for the court it faced west and captured the most sunlight. But owners Ronnie Stangler and Russell Gibson felt it was too open to passersby. To create a sense of privacy, Berger removed the old concrete path (color-shaded in drawing) and wrapped the yard's three open sides with a lattice fence. The fence's top is flat, but its height varies because of the slope of the lot at its lowest point, the fence is 6 feet tall; on the driveway side, it is 4 feet.

Two tall privacy screens of the same latticework project from each corner of the house. The one closest to the front door blocks the view toward the neighboring house and defines one end of the entry deck. The other flanks part of the driveway and gently turns into the entry court with short sections that repeat the contours of the second-story window bays. It helps screen both the yard and the living room window while drawing guests from the driveway onto the patio and toward the front door. (A curving cap rail mounts to the top of this section, while the rest of the cap rails are straight.)

In the center of the court is a 12- by 24-foot brick patio with a 7-foot-radius semicircular cutout in front of the living room. The semicircle is part of an intimate garden designed to be viewed from indoors. An adjoining entry deck rises three steps to the front stoop, where it is broad enough to place chairs.

Berger designed the permanent garden plantings for low maintenance and almost continuous color. Starting in early spring, there's a rich color palette: yellow Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis); white, cream, yellow, blue, and pink rhododendrons; white Japanese snowdrop trees (Styrax japonicus); and Kousa dogwood (Cornus Kousa). Brilliant fall color comes from vine maples (Acer circinatum) and the dogwood, while Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) provides winter color.

Photo: Long band of lattice provides privacy from street (above). The lot's slight change of grade shows along bottom of fence. Entry (below) is to side off drive

Photo: Herringbone-patterned brick patio curves past living room garden to stepped-up entry deck (above). Plan shows narrow patio with L-shaped bed at front and side, private garden in front of living room. Color shading shows old path
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Date:Mar 1, 1984
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