Garden Tour: A Kansas City Yard for Entertaining
Tropics in the city
Bamboo, a hammock and a koi pond offer a bit of tropics in this 1,600-square-foot garden. The Kansas City, Missouri, homeowners created their backyard getaway from an old, untended yard. Custom-made pergolas add architectural punch and define the garden's "rooms." There's a dining spot, a living room and even a "beach," which is the nickname for the hammock area delineated by pea gravel (think sand) and a gurgling fountain (gentle ocean waves).
Outdoor living room
A cedar deck delineates the living room area of the yard.
A rose-color limestone path meanders along beds of hostas, monkey grass and coneflowers. While each section of the garden has its own personality, a common color story ensures visual harmony: The hardscape is primarily reds (rose limestone, old bricks) and grays (limestone, gravel). The garden contains a charming mix of plants, including old-fashioned flowers (gooseneck loosestrife, hostas, oakleaf hydrangeas, rhododendrons and azaleas) and tropical plants (banana trees and acacia). A neighbor donated a shovelful of woodland phlox, and daffodils and irises were rescued from abandoned properties.
This miniature terrarium garden sparks interesting conversations at gatherings because of its playful overalls-wearing metal toad-a clearance-rack find. "There should be something in the environment that captures guests' attention, keeps them from being bored and sparks other conversations," says homeowner Stephan Zweifler, corporate visual merchandising manager for Nebraska Furniture Mart in Kansas City and Omaha.
Reuse and recycle is the mantra in the dining area, where bricks from the old carriage house found a new home under a table that seats six. The herringbone-pattern patio also is recycled, with bricks from a kitchen chimney that collapsed during renovations of the 1879 Victorian.
A cedar pergola with an attached bench offers seating for guests.