Hyannis Port garden

As if Monet himself painted it into existence, this hillside garden in Hyannis Port will take your breath away

There is perhaps no one more suited to understand the natural beauty of a garden than an artist. Indeed some of Claude Monet’s most devoted works of art are his own gardens at his home in Giverny, France, for which he named his famed 1900 painting “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny.” Creating a world of vibrant colors and whimsical masonry, it’s as if Monet took a paintbrush to the landscape of his beloved home. As with any talented visionary, Monet’s gardens are a physical representation of his artistic spirit, of the pathways of his soul—likely lined with flowers.

In Hyannis Port sits a newly planted hillside garden that deftly captures the same type of artistry that Monet and many other iconoclasts have tapped into—so much so that the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod awarded the project a Gold BRICC Award in 2018 for Excellence in Garden Design. A romantic escape from the outside distractions of everyday life, it has all the quaintness of an English-style cottage garden, but with a modern, Cape Cod twist. Set against a sprawling view of the Cape’s iconic coastline, this watercolor brought to life is contrasted by a stone framework in warm, sandy tones that emulates the shoreline. Within that composition are flowers that blend together into a hazy swirl of color, as if the soft sea breeze washing over the space is the delicate hand of a painter.

“We successfully communicated this more modern cottage throughout the project,” says landscape architect Bernice Wahler, who drew inspiration from the creativity of Gertrude Jekyll, an artist in her own right who was on the forefront of the movement for cottage gardens, often embracing a more graceful, charming style of gardening over formality and structure. “But I think even more importantly, the overall feeling is one of familiarity and a comfortable space where the homeowners can enjoy their summertime in outdoor spaces. It still maintains that casual relationship with the outside, which is why people come to the Cape.” Working with an almost 20-foot grade transition on the property, the project required a fair amount of construction in the way of walls and terraces while still pulling together a cohesive relationship between the indoor and outdoor space. “One thing that was important to me right away,” says Wahler, “was creating an experience in the front yard so that the client is able to share with arriving guests her love of gardening right away, and that’s the real inspiration behind the terrace planting beds in the front.”