St. Charles garden in magazine

<br />

Nestled on the bottom side of a hill, the Saltsgaver landscape is a testament to the notion that “less is more.” Oh, so much more.

Jan and Rand took an undeveloped lot and created a refuge of repose–a calming sanctuary that gets its sense of tranquility from the surrounding woodland, cooling water features, soft color palette, and a protected sense of enclosure.

“The piece of land dictated everything we did,” says Jan.

The couple built a passive solar home tucked into the hillside, designed so that all the interior living spaces overlook soothing views of nature. Outside the front entry, a sunken deck surrounded by raised beds filled with lush tropical plants, offers an intimateplace to have a bite of lunch or glass of wine. “Some people build decks to look out over their property, but here we wanted a sense of being ‘in’ the garden instead of looking out at it,” says Jan.

Lowering an elevation is a great way to create a sense of enclosure and privacy, she says. “The deck being sunken makes it much more cozy,” says Jan.

The Saltsgavers also added a firepit to this deck. Fire not only provides warmth on a cool night, but the mesmerizing flames invite restful contemplation. Soft music from outdoor speakers muffle any sounds coming from outside their yard.

A natural depression at the bottom of a grassy slope at the front of their property called to them as the perfect spot for a large pond that could hold koi. As they spent more and more time sitting on the banks of the pond, they decided to enclose it with a boardwalk and deck.

An angled section of the wooden deck is cantilevered over the smallest portion of the pond, home for the colorful fish. The deck feels as if it floats on the water, says Jan. “It’s like being on a raft,” adds Rand.

In a curve at the end of a path to the furthest edge of their property, the Saltsgavers created a destination getaway. Rand, a carpenter, built a covered wooden bench where they can sit, even in a light rain, and watch water from a bamboo pipe trickle slowly into a smaller, more intimate, pond. “It’s a place for meditation,” says Rand

The house is not visible from this garden. It is a very cloistered spot, one that the Saltsgavers go to a lot. “I feel immersed in nature here and able to be in the moment,” says Jan.

The Saltsgavers deliberately choose to keep the plant palette around their house a restful green. Jan, who owns a business that rents and cares for interior plants to homes and businesses, says she find the color green to be very soothing and calm. Keeping the plant palette simple also cuts down on maintenance, she says, another way to have a landscape that is less stressful.

Jan and Rand created a paradise by keeping attuned to their surroundings. “We feel very connected with nature,” says Jan. “That’s the feeling the whole property gives us.”

Posted in My Stories