Brilliant On All LevelsA perilous slope left this Chappaqua property virtually inaccessible before a savvy landscape designer turned dysfunctional into dramatic.
Written by Tovah Martin
Westchester Home - 2012
Most people see a slope and assume that it's downhill all the way. But not Jan Johnsen. She sees slopes as totally upbeat.
The fact that grass steps are Jan Johnsen's signature is telling. It says something about a landscape architect who strives to soften every element of a garden-cushioning access to the upwardly mobile aspects of a landscape. But the fact that Johnsen focuses on steps also implies that she's dedicated to bringing every space in a yard into the dialogue. Show Johnsen a property with a breakneck hill that would give Jack and Jill the jitters, and she'll see a way to utilize every square foot of space without worrying about taking a tumble. That's exactly what she's been doing for 18 years, working for a family in Chappaqua who came to her with the hill from hell. Not only did she transform it into herbaceous heaven, but she harnessed the uppermost areas to turn them into viewing platforms and utilized all the acreage in between.
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