Garden Stalker


IT’S ONE THING to be a garden voyeur, checking out places that are open to the public or that I’ve wangled an invitation to. Now I’ve gone a step further and become a garden stalker, sneaking looks into yards whose owners are unaware of my presence.

More than once I’ve parked my car (or left it running) and stealthily crept around to peek over a hedge or fence at a house whose roofline promises something interesting, scurrying away guiltily when a door opens or a voice is heard.

The latest object of my stalking is a stunning estate on Springs Fireplace Road, above. It’s a cedar-shingled Colonial — or is it just a very artful contemporary house in Colonial style? The general shape of the building, large and boxy with a high peaked roof and wings added on just as they would have been if the place were indeed 18th century, seems authentic.


The landscaping is by Oehme van Sweden, according to a small sign on the property, in the currently fashionable idiom — ornamental grasses and prairie-style flowering perennials in drifts or ‘waves,’ a look pioneered by that firm and Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape architect. There’s a pool, a pergola, and a no-nonsense electrified deer fence.

In front, the property is open and farmlike, visible to all who pass by. In order to see the side and rear of the property, I went down an old farm road. Only later did I notice the small “Private Road – No Trespassing” sign.




About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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5 Responses to Garden Stalker

  1. Terry Kearns says:

    Thanks, This is a good one. Looks like it’s been there for 100 years. I like houses that ramble across the lot with zigs and zags, angles and niches…

  2. Tara Dillard says:

    Thank you for taking us along. Go again, who knows, maybe you’ll be invited in.

    Sir Edwin Lutyens used meadows, tall grasses, in his landscape design work a century ago. Allowing it to come straight to the home, and touch.
    Great Dixter, England, the late Christopher Lloyd’s estate, & open to the public, is one example.

    Looking at Lutyen’s work it’s obvious he influenced FLW. The little man who wore wood soled shoes with high heals, according to the recent, scrumptiously written book, Loving Frank.

    Each time I’ve designed meadow to the foundation of a home I’ve had to ‘sell’ the idea. Why are Americans so wedded to their foundation plantings? UGH.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. patrick says:

    Hi, Cara. Do you know the Marders’ house (Marder of the awesome nursery on Snake Hollow Rd. in Bridgehampton, behind the BH Commons, across from Agway) on Springs Fireplace Rd.? If I recall, it’s a bit south of the intersection of SF and (I think) School Street (where there is that 50s looking mechanic shop and deli). It’s on the West side of FP, and is shingled with bright blue trim.

  4. cara says:

    I know the nursery but not the house – I’ll look out for it. Thanks, Patrick.

  5. Cara, thanks for the kind words you had for our work at this house. We agree that the owners have impeccible taste and a real appreciation for the sense of place. Actually, the house has been featured on several recent garden tours – most recently the ARF Hamptons Tour, which we blogged about at It was also featured in Garden Design magazine’s “Hampton’s Haven” article, which can be found online here:

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