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December 13, 2017 / Linda Hartong

Through The Garden Gate

“When I walk through that gate…that’s my escape.” – Maria Sharapova

Carmel Cottages are special for many reasons. But one that always pleases me is the way the fence, gate, and front garden present the house as a bit of a refuge from the world outside that fence. They create a threshold from a semipublic world to the semiprivate world of the owner.

I Live To garden


The more recent trend has been to find privacy with a large yard, the better to not see into the neighbors’ homes or hear their noises. I have plenty of this kind of privacy in my Kansas City home and have designed these front landscapes for others when I did landscape design.  Yes, the lots are large but visually anything but private. Walking by the homes, one sees the whole home and yard in one glance. There is no sense of mystery or discovery.

When did it become desirable to have lots of green grass manicured to perfection? Very high maintenance and costly.  Jonathan Engels observes

“While nobody is suggesting that we inherently begin detesting grass, growing it on the scale we do and with all that effort to keep it cleanly cut, fertilized and free of weeds, i.e. natural biodiversity, is proving a huge burden on the planet, its animals (who aren’t allowed to graze on lawns), and the people so determined to have a perfectly picturesque front garden. Amazingly, we have found a way to both destroy the environment and ruin animal habitat, all the while giving ourselves heaps of work without any real return on the effort.”

Carmel encourages the front garden as an alternative and a pretty one it is.

Fences of grape stake ,





Carmel 2009 089

and stone


Carmel August 2009 007 HDR_2

Carmel 162531

mark the boundary.

Gates swing open to provide a peek



Plantings soften the home beyond.


IMG_0179house of roses

Chez Lo


Maison de Belle


Leave a Comment
  1. Janet Magina / Dec 14 2017 12:13 am

    How I envy your ability to walk about Carmel and peer into these gardens and homes. Carmel is one of my favorite places on earth.
    Merry Christmas Linda, thank you for taking me along on your walks.

  2. livingpink / Dec 14 2017 12:22 am

    So pretty I miss going to Carmel. Have a wonderful holiday season your blog is a treat!!

  3. downraspberrylane / Dec 14 2017 2:57 am

    Loved the gardens and gates (and houses!) of Carmel. It’s been 4 years since my unforgettable only visit…too long.

  4. Diane Schrader / Dec 14 2017 4:29 pm

    Loved That….Thank you…..Hope you and your family are doing well,Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

    On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 5:49 PM, Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea wrote:

    > Linda Hartong posted: ““When I walk through that gate…that’s my escape.” – > Maria Sharapova Carmel Cottages are special for many reasons. But one that > always pleases me is the way the fence, gate, and front garden present the > house as a bit of a refuge from the world outside tha” >

  5. Gayle Warrington / Dec 14 2017 8:11 pm

    Thank you once again for your magical tour. I wasn’t aware that you had been a landscape designer. Carmel’s homes and gardens are enchanting, but how much time do you estimate it takes to maintain them? How often do they need to fertilize to encourage such blooms? How about the time involved in deadheading and trimming? I don’t ever remember seeing anyone working in their gardens while visiting over the years.

    • Linda Hartong / Dec 15 2017 4:12 pm

      It takes lots of time of course. It helps if gardeners choose plants that thrive in that climate and plant wisely. I would estimate about 5 hours a week in my garden.

  6. Joyce / Dec 14 2017 10:00 pm

    I really like the way you presented these gardens and gates as representing refuge. I think that is a huge part of what home is.

  7. lisa sharring / Dec 17 2017 8:05 pm

    your posts are magical

  8. LISA ANN LENTES-AGEE / Jan 19 2018 6:04 pm

    I was hoping you could help me. I want to make a gate out of the wrought iron head and foot boards my family gave me for a wedding gift. I cannot find anywhere on the web how to do it myself, Being that the pieces are from a queen size solid iron bed, I will need something strong to allow it to be a functioning gate. Pinterest has wonderful pictures of gates but no directions for us want-a-be exterior designers on a budget. Any help or guidance you can offer will be welcomed with glad tidings. Sincerely, Lisa

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 22 2018 3:53 pm

      sorry but no. I have seen these pieces placed in the garden as a frame for a flower bed. Very attractive

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