initial impression of this Wauwatosa property is of a loose and
naturalistic yard, horticulturist Stewart Dempsey says there is
quite a lot of order to the landscape. The outdoor fireplace was
created by Simon Leverett of Petra Historic Masonry to fit in
with the architecture of the 1920s-era house. The homeowners
also restored the rock garden of Niagara stone that was original
to the house.
Photo by Doug Edmunds
As the caretaker
of Judy Peck and Stephen Kaniewskiís yard for the last decade,
Stewart Dempsey appreciates the ephemeral beauty of the landscape.
"Itís not static. When it comes up you have to enjoy it because
itís never going to be the same again," Dempsey says.
property in the Washington Highlands is a rare find in Wauwatosa. And
with its old-growth trees, sunken patio and waterfall pond, the
homeowners have cultivated a private retreat to enjoy from its midst
or through the views from inside the house.
owner of horticulture consulting and design firm Walnut Hill, came
into the project just after the homeowners had built a new garage, put
in a new driveway and were redoing the sprinkler system. "There
were trenches all over the yard. It was just a mess," he says.
homeowners expanded an existing pond on the property and added a
stone bridge that leads to a secluded spot where homeowner
Stephen Kaniewski likes to unwind.
Photo by Doug
Dempsey had two
directives from the homeowners: "There was a very strict mandate
from Steve and Judy that they did not want this unique and historic
property to look like a landscaped lot," Dempsey says.
The other was to
create a yard with a lot of spring and fall interest, since Peck and
the children spent most of the summer up north.
vine climbs up a wall on the former garage, which is now a
Photo by Doug Edmunds
hydrangeas, roses and lilies provide color and fragrance, while hostas
and many varieties of shrubs add texture and greenery. Dogwood,
viburnum and holly offer interest in fall and winter, too. "What
I found rewarding was taking from concepts of not necessarily having
extreme color, which is what most people are after, but to use texture
and form and relying on that more heavily than flower or bloom
sequence," Dempsey says.
on some of the plants that had been in the yard previously, like
peonies and hostas, and added others such as Japanese Kerria and
Oriental lilies. Though the homeowners donít have much time for
gardening ó he is the owner of Brass Light Gallery ó they were
involved in the design to make sure it was in line with what they
envisioned for the property, Dempsey says.
entry of the house, which is set back from the street, is
another spot to enjoy the natural surroundings.
Christine Anderson spend about 15 hours a week maintaining the
property, sharing the natural surroundings with wildlife such as
ducks, frogs and birds. "There is no other property like it in
the metro area," Dempsey says. "There is so much wildlife
you feel like you are someplace else. You donít feel like you are in
the middle of the city."