Obviously, Holly and Jeff Henline's home was designed for people who like to live and entertain outdoors as much as they do indoors. With wall-to-wall windows, practically, across the rear, the home's layout design brings the outdoors in. But the tri-level wrap-around deck, screened-in porch, plus outdoor fireplace, take the indoors out, which makes Holly Henline's garden akin to another room of the house.
Obviously, Holly and Jeff Henline's home was designed for people who like to live and entertain outdoors as much as they do indoors.
With wall-to-wall windows, practically, across the rear, the East Peoria, Ill., home's layout design brings the outdoors in. But the tri-level wrap-around deck, screened-in porch, plus outdoor fireplace, take the indoors out, which makes Holly Henline's garden akin to another room of the house.
"The outdoors is my sanctuary," she says.
In Henline language, that means she likes decorating and redecorating her outside rooms as much, maybe more than she likes decorating and redecorating her inside rooms. Inside, she talks about her decorating "projects." Outside, she refers to arranging and rearranging her plants. But it all adds up to a place where the seams between indoors and out are ... well, almost seamless.
The new screened-in porch is like an outdoor family room for popcorn and movie nights. The new outdoor fireplace adds ambiance, like good lighting in a living room. The expansive deck, with complementing gazebo, may be the scene of a family wedding.
The wooded bluffs of the Illinois River - and for about six months of the year, the river view - offer a main focal point, indoors and out. And Holly's flowers, shrubs and bushes are the colorful art accents of outdoor living.
The tri-level deck is all angles and stairs, accompanied by a wide set of aggregate concrete steps, bordered with flagstone walls. Together, the two structures are essentially the bones of Holly's garden. Their multiple angles and levels make for multiple nooks, crannies and niches for her plants.
The house was built in the 1970s. The Henlines moved in about 31/2 years ago. Previous owners had already engaged in years of landscaping.
"The first thing I did was start digging up plants from around the yard and rearranging them," she says. That includes replanting literally hundreds of hostas and a good helping of daylilies. She also discovered more plants as she ripped out the carpet of English ivy that had overtaken the front yard.
She added boxwoods and tall grasses to maintain greenery year-round. She planted moss roses, New Guinea impatiens and other small, colorful flowers on the grounds and in artsy planters strategically placed around the patio and deck.
When the Henlines first moved in, the wide steps leading to the patio were paved with red brick. Brick, Holly decided, was too high maintenance. She had it replaced with the concrete and used the brick for the outdoor fireplace and part of the front driveway.
The result is a garden that echoes Holly's decorating style inside - clean, uncluttered design that blends modern and traditional touches.
She didn't have a plan for her gardening design. She'd simply go to the garden store or the gardening section of a store and browse for plants she liked. She researched them enough to know the locations most suitable for them to grow. Then she'd move them from one spot to another in her garden until she figured out where she wanted to plant them.
The only thing she knew for sure when she set out to decorate her garden was she wanted it to be low maintenance. She didn't want it to require so much work that she couldn't enjoy it. After all, she lives in her outdoor setting the same way she lives in her indoor setting and she's as proud of it as a grandmother is of a grandchild.
"If I work in the yard the whole day, I just like to sit back and look, then say, 'Jeff, come look at what I did.' "
Pam Adams can be reached at email@example.com.