Home Design Plans Kerala Style AL.com You are signed in as Edit Public Profile Sign Out The Birmingham News The Huntsville Times Press-Register Email newsletters Alabama Change Region >See this Mt Laurel Craftsman-style home and garden Updated April 19, 2018 at 11:16 AM; Posted April 19, 2018 at 10:53 AM The garden features wooden accents and plenty of sitting areas.(Jean Allsopp) By Birmingham magazine In Birmingham's Mt. Laurel neighborhood, nature and neighbors reside side by side. The planned community focuses on experience, with even the sidewalks designed around the area's abundant sights and sounds. So, when residents Don and Gail Rule decided to enhance their home's surroundings, they resolved to focus on elements that would blend into Mt. Laurel's overall aesthetic and enhance the grounds of their arts-and-crafts-style cottage. The Rules called upon David Brush of David N. Brush Landscape Architecture to help bring their vision to life. "Don and Gail's program was for me to design something simple that looks like it's been there," Brush says. "Don's main request was to use materials that were part of the neighborhood's vernacular; Gail's was the inclusion of a place where she could plant annuals and perennials." The home features a wraparound porch along the front facade and a screened porch on the side, so Brush formed a plan to extend those two living areas into the landscape. >The home's garden.Jean Allsopp He wanted to create a seamless flow between them. "Their front porch is more of a transitional space and doesn't provide much separation from the community sidewalk and the house," he says. "I intentionally developed outdoor spaces with glimpses of the street, yet they retained enough privacy to serve as a sanctuary of sorts. To help reinforce this, we built a wooden trellis, gate, and fence, all of which were stained to complement the heavy wooden timbers on the front porch." Since the Rules had moved from a spacious three-acre property in St. Louis, they wanted to maximize their smaller, narrower lot in Mt. Laurel to make the transition and downsizing smoother. Brush helped the couple ease into their smaller space by creating a series of interconnected yet distinctly different garden areas. He used a layered approach to pull it off, including a meandering sidewalk, subtle changes in construction materials and flora, and attention-grabbing ground cover such as Blue Star Creeper. Says Brush, "The best plans are fully realized when top-quality craftsmanship is part of the process. You can't overemphasize or shortcut this fact. I'm fortunate to be able to work with true craftsmen on this project." The talented team also included Blackjack Horticulture, who handled the millwork and softscape, and Valente Martinez who performed the masonry-related work. Though the landscape is fairly young, the Rules are already enjoying the fruits of their labor, which is exactly what Brush hopes will happen with each one of his designs. He says, "Landscape architecture is quite unique in that it's not static, it's always changing. It's been a pleasure to watch the Rules' garden grow." Resources: Landscape Architecture: David N. Brush Millwork and Softscape: Blackjack Horticulture Masonry: Valente Martinez --By Andrea Fanning | Photos by Jean Allsopp This story appears in Birmingham magazine's April 2018 issue as part of the Beautiful Birmingham Homes & Gardens section. Subscribe today!