Sagaponack, New York
Extending over a five-acre site, this garden developed over time: passing from one owner to another, the landscape had two distinct periods of design and implementation.
During the initial period, the garden became a personal resort where a bachelor client could entertain. The model was the luxury Amanyara resort in Turks and Caicos Islands, and LDG adapted the original’s warm color palette of neutral beige mixed with natural woods and deep green vegetation to a northeastern setting. The plant material, while consistent with the richness of the Caribbean original, was revised to suit a very different climate and salty, maritime air as this property is only one house away from the beach. An exotic note was struck by setting Japanese maples on the peninsulas that articulate the swimming pool, while salt-spray and wind-tolerant evergreen and deciduous trees such as crape myrtles, lindens, and cryptomerias were used to shade and define the spaces into a series of linked garden rooms.
Organized around a central axial path, these are located toward the back of the property, deliberately detached from the house. Conceived as a retreat where the client and guests could spend a whole summer day, the “resort” included a wealth of amenities, such as outdoor showers and kitchen as well as a dining pavilion and lounge, sheltered by natural wood trellises designed in a Balinese style, each located in its own garden room. The swimming pool is large and was organized into different areas that open off each other, calculated to accommodate not just a single couple but groups of bathers. The spa became a separate destination, enclosed in its own leafy surround. The far end of the garden’s central path was anchored by a heavy timber wood arbor that shelters a luxurious space filled with custom seating, fireplace, pendant lights, and a hidden sound system, which are shrouded by canvas curtains.
All of this was already in place when the property became the home of a couple with young children. While supportive of the original plan, the new owners wanted to add garden spaces nearer to the house, in particular features that would engage their children. A space next to the house became an outdoor extension of the living room, with sunken limestone benches surrounding a sunken central fire pit. A panel of lawn was transformed into a teaching garden with beds of vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers, together with an open-air dining area with cooking facilities, where the family could spend mornings and afternoons, even dine together or with a party on the custom-built table under market lighting.