Hushed Serenity in a Birmingham Garden Retreat

From the street, it is a handsome, well-kept brick home in a very nice Birmingham neighborhood. But once you enter the garden through an unpretentious white wooden gate, you feel like Alice exploring her ever-changing looking-glass world. Surprise after surprise takes your breath away as John Golightly Wilson, founder of Golightly Landscape Architecture, has crafted a wonderfully cohesive space of elegant outdoor rooms that reveal themselves slowly, in a most dignified manner.

“We tried to make garden rooms and to pull the architecture from the house out into the garden,” says John, who has worked with the homeowners since they refined the backyard design during a major home renovation in 2008. The couple also wanted a pool in the huge, deeply sloped lot, but John says the proposed location was too close to the house and cut off the flow. After some discussion, he placed it at the furthest reach of the property, about 100 feet from the house.