enchanted garden

June 5th 2012 Comments: 17 Topics:

Being honored with a commission to design someone’s new home is like an invitation to a private party.
When the collaboration is at its best, your host offers himself up and, in the end, teaches you more.  Such was the case of this client and his Lake Martin, Alabama home.   He came prepared for our first meeting with scores of sketches and even more ideas.  With this particular brilliant, crazy mind, our job was clear – distill, edit and make physical the child-like zaniness he exuded.

The house, we decided, was to have some type of playful theme. Since our client’s fanciful mind seem to dart and fly all over the place, we decided to try our hand at a victorian based house festooned with bird motifs in place of gingerbread.  The house was developed, built and the client adored it.


Here, the story really begins.  Being a long-time master gardener, our client decided to take the home as an inspirational seed and grow the property as a delightful, experiential, often non-sensical horticultural playground.  Completing that, he then bought the adjacent property and expanded his kingdom.  Over the years, the garden has become an unbelievable trip into a twisted genius’s mind.  It’s as if someone handed the Mad Hatter a shovel, a bag of seeds and some fertilizer.  The property began a blank canvas.  Land was re-formed.  Boulders dropped as if from heaven.  Water sprung forth from unknown fonts.  The Garden, un-mappable except in the maker’s head, is a delightful romp of discovery;  an emotional and exploratory game of Chutes and Ladders with a bit of Dungeons and Dragons thrown in for excitement.  A few of the hidden treasures that lie within the arcadia: an underground wine cave complete with murals, a walled croquet lawn, an oversized chess board and a grotto living room which lies behind a waterfall.  Since the owner loves to enchant and entertain, there are over a dozen dining nooks, each with a specific character.  Beset with requests for weddings over the nearly twenty years since starting, the owner recently completed a lovely green overlooked by an elevated party barn for receptions and dances.

He once told me the reason he has spent unbelievable time, effort and money on creating this light-hearted Eden.  He said he imagined someone on his death bed reviewing the days in his life and his memory would light briefly upon an amazing day spent in a garden with nothing on the agenda but diversion, decadence and delight.


  1. cwhitneyward says:

    Enchanting..Indeed..lovely read too…

  2. What a legacy this owner has created. A perfect Eden for all to enjoy. His death bed comment struck a nerve with me. My daughter when young was asked what her mother’s occupation was…her reply….she waters the plants…

  3. Just amazing!! Like a version of the secret garden but prettier!! Leslie

  4. glynn grisham says:

    We saw this garden this weekend from the water and it is incredible!

  5. Derilyn Lavender Lee says:

    What an incredible home…….Heaven on earth!!

  6. Julie Keeter says:

    ❣ G N I Z A M A

  7. It has such a magical way of inspiring one to dream. What heaven on earth.

  8. Love, Love this garden and seen in transform over 20 years. It is an amazing statement to the Gardener’s life.

  9. Gaines Blackwell says:

    I am fortunate to have seen a goodly number of “follies” in English country house gardens. Your talented group has gone one better. This rather magical house is it’s own folly within it own delightful garden, no manor house needed nor wanted.

  10. Nancy says:

    Truly exquisite.

  11. Linda Allen says:

    Simply breathtaking! Just looking at the pictures makes me smile. Such God given talent displayed by both the architect and gardener. Thank you for sharing!

  12. gayle jolluck says:

    what a magical place. Crave to walk there, meditate there, and bring home many ideas for our property. Is there a chance we could see your and the clients exterior and interior views of this fabulous home?

  13. Marci says:

    This had to be the funnest project! Masterminds working together! It’s so enchanting!

  14. Dee says:

    Jim Scott’s garden is truly the most beautiful place I have ever seen! Makes me so happy every time I visit!!

  15. Cindy White says:

    Love the genius here… Beautiful and fun!

  16. Susan S says:

    Magical! My favorite is the piered stepping stones to the outcrop. Meditating there would be effortless.

  17. […] few years ago, I wrote a post about Jim Scott’s enraptured garden located at Lake Martin, Alabama. Last week we posted it […]

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