Are you drawn to the image of cozy, ivy-covered brick cottages? Then you’ll love what Troy Rhone of Birmingham, AL, has done with this Nagrodski residence. You can see the squared, well-manicured hedges in front, fitting framework for the front door — and well-spaced trees in square planted beds that afford the house privacy without being a forbidding barrier. In pleasant contrast to the squared angles of the home, including its stiffly peaked roof and dormer windows, the driveway and path are in leisurely curves; the fat, round planters by the door add to the feeling of relaxing the traditional structure into “welcoming” and “homey” rather than “stuffy.” But it’s in the “ivy” covering this house that the surprise ¬— and fun — becomes apparent. For this is no ordinary ivy.
It’s a series of little trees, trained to climb the rough red brick walls as if on a trellis, and anchored by secure metal brackets fastened directly into the masonry — one solidly-made tree garden. But it’s even more than visually appealing: look closely, and you’ll see them — apples, bursting forth in plump green goodness. Growing right next to a small multi-paned window — open to bring in the breeze, no doubt — they do a splendid double-duty: in the springtime, they can fill both home and garden with the perfume of blossoms, and in the fall…well, that perk goes without saying! Subtle, serene, and green, this setting of a red-brick classic provides an “extra” you can’t get in just any landscape: the possibility of home-grown and home-baked pies in the future.