Home & Design

Planted Earth Landscaping, Inc., maintains the grounds of the renovated Mid-Century property originally designed by architect Charles Goodman.

Landscape architect Jennifer Horn reflected the home’s clean lines in her plan; thermal bluestone paves the pool terrace.

A front courtyard contains raised beds and a water feature.

Architect Michael Cook designed a renovation of the home, which once belonged to CBS commentator Eric Sevareid.

The backyard revolves around a pool, fire pit and seating areas.

Modern Makeover

Inviting gardens and gathering areas complement an Alexandria abode

The total overhaul of a Mid-Century Modern property with a notable history required close collaboration between landscape architect Jennifer Horn and landscape contractor Planted Earth Landscaping, Inc., which now maintains the grounds.

The residence was originally designed by architect Charles Goodman, known for his iconic modern enclaves in the DC area; the home’s first owner was the late CBS commentator Eric Sevareid. The current owner tapped architect Michael Cook to update the structure and Horn to redesign the landscape.

Horn notes that clients with mid-century houses often imagine West Coast landscapes, with concrete pavers and gardens offering year-round interest. “Translating that to the cold, snowy Virginia winters and hot, humid summers posed challenges,” she says. “We opted for thermal bluestone that can handle 
the freeze-thaw cycle a bit better.”

Horn reflected the home’s clean lines in her plan. A front courtyard contains raised beds and a water feature while the backyard revolves around a pool, fire pit, seating areas and even a hub for beekeeping.

Planted Earth project manager Justin Spittal says the steeply sloping site was a challenge. “With competing grades in the construction area, erosion was a constant concern,” he notes. Retaining walls were used “to keep both the home and neighbors safe from runoff.”

The team installed ferns, horsetail reed and other sculptural plants. Says Horn, “We focused on texture more than on a traditional mix of flowers, trees and shrubs.”

Award: Grand for Total Residential Contracting (Planted Earth). Landscape Architecture: Jennifer Horn, PLA, Jennifer Horn Landscape Architecture, Arlington, Virginia. Renovation Contractor: Perpetual Home Improvement, West River, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Planted Earth Landscaping, Inc., Sykesville, Maryland.

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