Golightly Landscape Architecture

Portfolio » Private Residence, Mountain Brook, Alabama


  • Hornbeam Hedge
  • Boxwood Parterre
  • 12’ x 4’ Reflecting Pool


  • Interior Design: Marcia Unger Interiors
  • Landscape Contractor: Southern Roots Nursery
  • Lighting & Irrigation: Rain N Shine
  • Sylvia Martin Photography


Golightly was asked to rethink the pool garden for this mid 90’s Robert Frank McAlpine designed house and garden. After seeing the interiors the homeowner and her interior designer, Marcia Unger, of Marcia Unger Interiors, had been working on for years, we decided this beautiful modern aesthetic was in need of an exterior space featuring clean lines.

Working closely with the homeowner and interior designer, we began by replacing the low boxwood hedge against the perimeter retaining wall with Hornbeams, a classic European deciduous hedge material. This provided a vertical architectural element and seasonal interest while increasing the amount of sunlight to the pool terrace. We then added two specimen Snowball Viburnums to flank either side of the pool and contrast the strict lines of the hedge.

We simplified the previously overgrown gravel path system and changed the color to a darker brown to better compliment the color of the house. A carpet of Mondo was added to fill any voids between the hedge, the pool, and paths and a parterre of boxwoods was installed on the west side in a Japanese inspired pattern to provide another layer of visual interest, especially when viewed from the main level of the house. We also gave a forgotten space behind the client’s art studio a new life by framing a simple panel of lawn with repurposed boxwoods.

The success of the pool garden provided us the opportunity to design a terrace and water feature off the living room in the front of the house. This collaborative effort resulted in a 12’x4’ reflecting pool surrounded with a low boxwood hedge and stone terrace. With this new space, we added another outdoor room for the homeowner to enjoy throughout the seasons.