The 18th century Ashley House, named for an earlier settler of the Berkshires, is the country home of a well-known art patron who was influential in developing New York City’s Battery Park and the High Line. Her challenge for Grubb was to redesign the roadside section of the poolhouse garden, providing a buffer to the pool area and more privacy for the family.
“The open lawn between the road and the pool was already bordered on two sides by 15-foot hedges, giving the space an enclosed room-like feeling. The hedges are pruned into animal and bird shapes,” Grubb explains. “They are spectacular. I wanted the roadside bed to both compliment and contrast with the existing topiary, but have its own character and nature. I pictured a denser room-like area.”
The bed abuts the road for 110 feet and is 20 feet deep. Grubb laid informal fieldstone paths and relocated a giant cat sculpture to the middle of the garden-room. The statue now defines the central axis, relating the new “room” to the area it shields: a broad lawn, a pool, a pool-house and, finally, the backdrop of the entire site, a bend of the Housatonic River.