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Richmond has long been associated with impressive lawns. An hour or so away, at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson established one of the first lawns ever in this country. He had long been been interested in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, flowers and decorative plants and so took great interest in the grand aristocratic gardens he visited in Great Britain and France, the first gardens to incorporate groomed stretches of grass among the geometric shapes, labyrinths and statuary. Jefferson designed his own garden based on those influences, including the tapis vert (“green carpet”). Lawns remained the domain of the wealthy until after the Civil War, because only they could afford “lawn mowers,” goats and sheep.

We’ve selected five majestic lawns in Richmond to demonstrate the variety and ingenuity of landscape design that exists today.

1. Suburban Chic on Paxton Road

 

Photo: Zillow

Why we like it:

Because the imaginative striping curls and swirls, giving each section of the amazingly lush lawn an individual design without disrupting the rhythm of the whole. The free-form shapes of the established trees surrounding the property compliment the more structured landscaping close to the home: the neatly mulched beds with handsome arrangements of shrubbery, crepe myrtles and dogwood.

2. Virginia Architecture Meets English Garden on Cherokee Road

Photo: Zillow

Why we like it:

Because the rear of this Williamsburg Cape Cod takes the English Garden to another level. The custom brick and uniquely shaped walkway creates a meandering path that skirts creatively sculpted shrubbery, particularly the fountain built into a “wagon wheel” topiary. Placed along the walkway, seemingly at random, but surely not, are a diverse assortment of planters and plants. Across the finely striped lawn is a raised planting area with brick wall and steps.

3. Spanish Mediterranean on Westover Road

 

Photo: Zillow

Why we like it:

Because the landscape designer dared to challenge the convention that sculpted shrubbery must be wider at the bottom in the unique arrangement leading to this custom home built during the Roaring Twenties. The home is quite imposing, and yet the simplicity of the landscaping holds its own without competing or cluttering up the view. Planters containing flowers add pops of color. The walkway with herringbone brick pavers is an unexpected touch but a crucial element in the eye appeal of the design.

4. Delightful Eccentric on Saint Christophers Road

 

Photo: Zillow

Why we like it:

Because it’s an extraordinary example of a creative, singular and compact landscape design. The rear lawn of this white-washed brick home is a masterpiece of shapes that should distract but instead carry the eye through all the elements. The contained grass area is inspired. The whimsically shaped boxwoods curl around the yard like over-sized caterpillars. The foliage of Boston ferns is raised up in planters. Bridal wreath lends its lacy effect, fragrant jasmine climbs the trellis, and junipers provide a privacy fence.

5. Chateau on Stratford Road

 

Photo: Zillow

Why we like it:

Because the glorious array of established woodland and flowering bushes evoke the romance of a French estate seen in an Impressionist painting. Custom built in the 1930s, this stone and slate Cape Cod perches on its four acres above the river. The flora provides enough privacy without obstructing the view. The flowering bushes (purple sage, lavender and white hydrangea and bougainvillea, and spirea alpine) create a profusion of harmonious colors and soften the perimeter of the lawn.

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