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‘Seaview Secret Garden’ is Osterville’s Avalon

Avalon of Osterville, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home |

E.J. Jaxtimer transformed a garage into this personal gym, further emphasizing the attention to holistic wellness within the garden. Photo by Dan Cutrona

The family entrusted the landscaping firm E.J. Jaxtimer of Hyannis and landscape architect Bernice Wahler of Sandiwch to complete Walker’s vision for a hidden garden set across the street from their seaside home. One goal was to reuse aged natural materials, such as reclaimed brick and weathered stone, so that the finished garden would inhabit a timeless, antique past with a refined yet rustic feel. The result pleased not only the client—E.J. Jaxtimer won a gold award in the Excellence in Landscape/Garden Design category of the 2016 BRICC Awards for the project.

Just as the legendary Avalon was renowned as an island of serenity and a center for the healing arts, the Secret Garden is an oasis for the spirit. While coastal living may appear tranquil and calm, the reality of life on the beach can prove more turbulent. Prevailing southwest breezes often whip Nantucket Sound into a frenzy, especially on July afternoons, but the garden, enclosed by trees, provides sanctuary from the sometimes-wrathful face of summer. Although there was enough space for a full swimming pool, the family opted for a formal dipping spa, where one can soak amid flowers and recharge the soul. As part of the overall project, E.J. Jaxtimer transformed a garage into a personal gym, further emphasizing the attention to holistic wellness. The Secret Garden is intimate enough for solitary reflection yet spacious enough to accommodate large parties; depending on one’s mood, companions could include butterflies, songbirds and lightning bugs or feature more boisterous revelers adorned in the equally bright colors of summer fashion.

Sharing the same variegated bluestone terrace as the spa are a fountain and a fire pit, the former catching and refracting the sun’s flames by day, the latter casting its own glowing embers into the night. In keeping with the antique theme, much of the finishing is distressed; the cabana’s antique windows and French doors were reclaimed from other projects. The patio transition from the cabana to the elevated terrace features a herringbone pattern of bricks, many scarred or wearing remnants of paint from previous residences. “This adds to the old English feel of the garden,” builder Jonathan Jaxtimer notes, as do the “irregular-shaped steps” of stones that appear more likely to have been acquired from swift mountain brooks than from any quarry.

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