Hidden Garden

It’s hard to believe the gardens and gracious outdoor living spaces that flow so naturally from Pat and Billy Hiden’s Mountain Brook home have not always been there. In reality, the carefully planned landscape evolved as a result of an extensive home renovation. The back yard was devastated and it was clear that they needed a plan. So, they hired David Brush, owner of David N. Brush Landscape Architecture. David credits the success of the project to the collaborative effort that evolved between himself, the Hidens, and Ralph Russell, owner of Ralph Russell Landscaping and Maintenance. Pat’s requirements were few. Her main wish—a cutting bed. She wanted to ensure that David allowed ample space for the peonies and irises they had inherited from the previous owner, as well as many other annuals and perennials to provide blooms for seasonal cuttings.

Designed on an axis, the gardens are accessed from two main entry ways: the house and the alley. In the back entrance, a white picket fence and gate open to the variety of gardenscapes. Perennial beds line the flagstone walk leading into the more formal areas. Many of the plantings, such as the various peonies, original to the property, were carefully moved and cared for by Ralph at another location during construction. Others are transplants from the yards of family and friends, such as the arching angel trumpet given to Pat by her aunt. Like a prized heirloom quilt, the garden reflects years of care and memories to be cherished.

Just past the informal cutting bed, the walk is bordered by Pat’s favorite garden flowers, Princess Diana roses, a muted pale pink variety with a deep pink throat. 

At the plan’s intersection, paths connect the main patio to a smaller patio set off by a garden wall, graced by a relief and a stone sideboard. A wooden arbor frames this serene focal point providing an anchor for climbing vines. Opposite this path is the home’s main patio. David says, “One of my overarching goals was to capture the space in an offhanded way so that the whole yard was not revealed at once, rather with one area leading into another, and experienced as a series of rooms.”

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The main patio is the ideal outdoor living space with comfortable seating, a soothing fountain, and immediate access to the house. When pressed to name her favorite area of the garden, Pat concedes that the patio tops the list. “It has provided many wonderful memories of evenings spent with family and friends.”

Perfect Plantings

“The beds are a mix of perennials and annuals. I provided the space for the beds in the drawings and relied on Ralph’s expertise to choose the plantings used in the bed, ” says David. Here are Ralph’s favorite perennials:
• Cone Flower
• Phlox: Miss Lingard or Wedding Phlox
• Daisies: Shasta, Becky
• Mexican Salvia
• Helleborus or Lenten Rose
• Peonies
• Thistle
• Native Sunflower
• Allium
• Mix in herbs for texture and fragrance


Garden Design: David Brush, David N. Brush Landscape Architecture • 76 Burnham Street • Birmingham, AL 35242 • 205.408.2214 • www.davidnbrush.com Ralph Russell Landscape and Maintenance • 205.837.7966 • Elegant Earth at the Arbor • 3401 5th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222 • 205.251.0203 • www.elegantearth.com Pat Hiden Interiors • 205.870.1809

Sally Herring

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