"“We spend more time outside…”"

Roehl Residence

Frederick, MD

"Thanks to Oldetowne we spend more time outside enjoying the gardens and living spaces than we did when the backyard was mostly lawn. When we decided to move forward with our project we had no idea how much we would enjoy the finished product. One pleasant surprise we had was the discovery of an old stone structure which was buried under the ground. Oldetowne took it upon themselves to hand dig this stone cistern down 12 feet in the ground and expose its natural beauty. This unique water feature is now the highlight of the garden”


This project came to us from a fellow designer rather than the homeowners themselves. We have found that there is a plethora of landscape architects and landscape designers searching for educated hands to execute their vision, and we have found it prudent to expand our services to accommodate their needs as well as our own in-house designs. William Morrow of William Morrow Garden Design gave us the opportunity to bring such a vision to life and also allowed us to impart some of our own creativity along the way.

A double lot is a rare find in the bustling urban environment of downtown so we knew immediately that this would be a special place. The design was clean, simple, elegant and balanced between outdoor entertaining space and garden splendor. When we arrived onsite it became apparent that this project would take a lot of work. The existing site conditions resembled a jungle more than the typical urban space of a federal revival row home. There were multiple terraces of at-grade deteriorating wooden decks, abstract illusions of a once useful brick patio space, and struggling plant material covered by invasive vines. The site required a complete demolition in order to be able to bring the design to life.

The first impression of this garden is made through a garden gate. This iron passage pulls friends, neighbors, and passers-by alike to its bars allowing you to share its view. If you are lucky enough to be invited in you will surely be surprised by the size of the entertaining terrace. Intricate carpet inlays that suggest a subtle texture in its pattern while maintaining a monochromatic field of view adorn the brick at your foot. The terrace reflects an open floor concept using the same space for multiple purposes such as dinning and lounge areas as well as open circulation. In the midst of all this emerges a true gem. While in construction of the project an old stone cistern was discovered and has appropriately been transformed into an enchanting water feature. The existing stone structure was extended above grade and provides a convenient seat while gazing down into the well of water at the bottom. The limestone walls of the well create a happy home for ferns and moss to show off their rich and vibrant greens. The water is kept in motion by re-circulation through an old iron pipe and lands on the bedrock below creating a soft and calming sound. The entertaining terrace is separated from the rest of the property by a brick retaining wall. Three large stone steps flanked by brick piers topped with cast stone planting urns lead to the gardens beyond.

Guests find the symmetrical layout of the gardens calming and therapeutic as they explore deeper into the property. A small radial foyer fitted with comfortable wooden benches meets them as the pink peonies catch their eye. While taking a seat to enjoy the large mass of hydrangea blooms and soft hedges of boxwood you are reminded why we should all Live Outside.

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