Project Spotlight: Starting with a Blank Slate


As any writer or artist knows, when you start with a blank page or a clean canvas, anything is possible. That’s also what happens with a landscape design that starts from scratch. The owners of this home in West Nashville had ideas for what they wanted, and called on the Gardens of Babylon team to bring it to life.

“I really enjoyed working on this project,” says designer Matt Kerske. “The owner was excited about the plan we proposed, and was happy with the way everything turned out.”

We asked Kerske to give details on the success and challenge of this custom design:

What did the homeowners want? “They were looking for better ways to utilize the backyard,” Kerske says. “They could envision a space where they could relax and enjoy sitting and visiting with friends and family.” The wish list included a seating area protected from the elements, and a gazebo was the natural choice. 

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What was the biggest challenge? “The backyard was nothing but grass. It was a blank slate,” the designer says. Building the gazebo that suited their needs was key. 

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The 15×15-foot square structure, built primarily of western cedar, is a clean-lined, contemporary design with a crushed granite gravel floor and a gabled roof. Trellis panels at each corner provide a sense of enclosure and privacy without shutting out the outdoors, and a ceiling fan installed inside the peak of the roof stirs the breeze in summer. The homeowners furnished the gazebo with comfortable seating, making it suitable for a cozy gathering of friends or a quiet outdoor getaway.

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What do you think is the best feature? Besides the gazebo, the overall design called for a backyard landscape makeover, Kerske says. “It’s a mix of native plantings: oakleaf hydrangeas, encore azaleas and a sweet bay magnolia tree.” The plantings are in beds that flank the back yard along new pine fencing that was part of the design, and in a gracefully curved bed between the house and the gazebo. Large flagstone stepping stones lead from the home’s backyard deck to the gazebo.

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“The gazebo is what really brings it all together,” Kerske says. “The owner gets really good enjoyment from the new backyard feature.


Do you plan to upgrade your outdoor spaces in 2022? Click here to book a consultation with a member of Gardens of Babylon’s landscape design team.

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