This garden home near English Village was tight on space, but thanks to thoughtful ideas, it makes a big punch. Channeling the design of Alys Beach, Peter created a neat alley with FireRock pavers and lined the pathway with crisp, square containers (set off by Mexican beach pebbles) filled with Yew, boxwood topiaries, and a trough-turned-fountain from Architectural Heritage. An apple espalier serves as a focal point on the far wall. Home design: architect Kelvin Terry; Containers: Elegant Earth; Builder, Russell Building
Classic Georgian Courtyard and Entry
Working around mature crape myrtles and a very happy pyracantha climbing up the side of the house, Peter reclaimed what was once an undefined garden space and transformed it into a tranquil seating area. “The wife is from Louisiana so we sourced the old New Orleans brick for the wall and topped the opening with antique pineapple finials. The fountain was a former sugar kettle, also from New Orleans. Furnishings: Mark Kennamer Designs
An arrival courtyard greets guests at the front of the house (above). “I wanted to create an inviting spot and some interest with the boxwoods and bench without taking away from the great architecture and reclaimed brick,” Peter says. Containers: Elegant Earth
1920s Estate Garden
When Peter and architect Hank Long embarked on this estate home’s front garden, backyard, and pool renovation, Peter says the landscape was completely overwhelmed with plantings. “We wanted to show how large the space was and give it an open feel,” Peter says. In front, stalwart oaks and a herringbone-patterned brick driveway were the only keepers, when redesigning the entrance to this grand 1920s house on Fairway Drive in Mountain Brook. “We simplified the landscape to put the focus on the house,” Peter says. We planted more oaks, and looked to a classic palette of plants: zoyzia grass, boxwood, and hydrangeas.
For the pool area, he removed gangly pink and purple crape myrtles and replaced them with a green lawn studded with FireRock pavers. “A holly hedge across the back of the property creates a living wall without confining the airy space,” says Peter. Transitional spaces were key to uniting the front and back areas. Peter designed a pergola and gate on the side of the house to welcome guests to the back garden. Here, he created an allée of tree form Nellie Stevens Hollies, winter gem boxwoods, and limelight hydrangeas along with a path of Alabama bluestone pavers. House, cabana, and pool refurbishment: Architect Hank Long; Pool Pavers: FireRock; Planters: Elegant Earth; Pool furniture: Summer Classics; Builder: Day Star Construction
Colonial Garden and Outdoor Kitchen
This traditional home is located in a family-friendly neighborhood where kids play frequently. To make this front lawn both pretty and kid safe, Peter designed a front gate and hedge of azaleas to act as a fence.
“I love bringing new ideas to a garden to refresh older homes,” Peter says. Here, he introduced bluestone pavers, custom planters filled with boxwood, and annabelle hydrangeas.
For the outdoor kitchen, Peter worked with designer Alleen Neighbors and builder Chris Franks. They relocated a door and replaced it with the circular window which allowed for a patio close to the kitchen. Peter, along with Chad Stogner of Elegant Earth, designed the grill and sink area. “I like for the grill area to look good,” Peter says. “When it looks good and is part of the landscape, people like to hang out and the chef isn’t outcast to a corner.”
Alabama native Peter Falkner spent his childhood summers working alongside his grandfather on the family farm. There, he learned everything from vegetable gardening to building lakes and ponds. Most importantly, he learned to truly appreciate the beauty of southern landscapes.
Turning his passion into a career, Peter has been shaping the landscapes of Birmingham, Alabama, Lake Martin, and Atlanta, Georgia along with his team at Falkner Gardens.