“This classic, sophisticated, New York-style garden was the second project we were commissioned for by our clients,” says COS Design, “after they sold their previous home where we worked.” It’s no accident these owners would think of New York: houses are close together here, without soaring panoramas or breathtaking vistas to enthrall visitors. Within those parameters, then, the key is to keep things simple. Front yard ornamentation is understated: a “lump pendant,” up-lighted foliage, and a functional geometric stone path. Follow that path through the side yard, aglow with subtle highlights, and you find a nook with bench seating, backed by ornate openwork screens and a “bubble” candelabra. Linger in the candlelight here or, as dusk falls, make your way toward the back courtyard, the space that the designers call the “star” of the entire project.
It’s here that ingenuity makes the most of every inch of this compact property. Look for your reflection in the pool of a multi-leveled water feature; thanks to the built-in cantilevered bluestone bench, you and your guests have ample seating for an evening’s outdoor chat. And that bench serves double-duty: its illuminated wood storage keeps supplies on hand for a cozy fire, held securely in an earthenware-look fire bowl. As you count the stars, delicate citrus scent from the espaliered lemon trees wraps around you, and the cares of the outside world fall away. This “estate in miniature” at Parslow Street is illustration, yet again, of what creativity can do to make even a smaller and confined space feel like so much more.