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A peek behind the hedges at some of the Hamptons' most elegant gardens

10 Sep 2012 8:10 AM
A peek behind the hedges at some of the Hamptons' most elegant gardens

One of the major advantages of living in the scenic splendor of the Hamptons is the ability to create a beautifully landscaped yard, perfect for throwing festive parties or relaxing with a great book. Many of the luxury homes in the area feature lawns that bring a bucolic beauty to the modern houses.

However, knowing that a yard should be a source of beauty and pleasure and actually knowing how to go about this process are two different matters. Many professionals spend years developing the ability to transform a patch of nature into a functional, elegant space.

For those of us who may not have this time, however, there is a wonderful source of inspiration nearby. The annual "A Peek Behind the Hedges" tour gives Hamptons residents the opportunity to travel through carefully groomed and creatively designed gardens throughout the region. Dozens of designers and landscapers worked for weeks to create private gardens, which are meant to help inspire locals to bring the ideas back to their own patches of lands.

These pleasant visits can provide many useful ideas and tips for visitors.

Pastoral pleasures
One of the recurring motifs is advice on including several different sections in a yard. At the Stables and Poultry House Gardens of Claverack-Keewaydin, for example, two landscape architects divided the space into many distinct gardens, including cutting, vegetable and grandmother's gardens, according to Hamptons Magazine.

Furthermore, the designers of this space opted to utilize specific property features to imbue their creation with a unique feel, a tack that many Hamptons' residents may find rewarding. For example, they surrounded a pond on the grounds with a pond garden and filled it with lily pads and hydrangeas.

Reinvention
Some Hamptons gardens are almost like historic artifacts. After centuries of inhabitance, they are sometimes filled with old structures, traditional layouts and ancient trees. One of the take-home points of the "A Peek Behind the Hedges" tour is to incorporate these timeless elements into a modern redesign.

The gardens at Four Fountains, for example, have been previously cultivated by legendary mid-20th-century landscape and interior designer Russell Page, according to the source. Paul Bangay, who prepared the grounds for the recent tour, respected the work of his predecessor by keeping much of it intact and building on Page's previous themes.

"The greatest challenge was marrying the original language, [likely] designed by the great Russell Page, with the new areas, [as] I wanted to honor the integrity he had created," Bangay told the source. "History was respected by using plants that belonged to the original design scheme and continuing the formality of the garden into the new areas."

These garden ideas are sure to inspire owners of Hamptons real estate to transform their own yards into works of natural art.