From the June/July 2017 Issue  

Summertime Strong

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Tim Proctor (Except where noted)  |  Architect BOL Architecture  |  Builder Monetti Custom Homes  |  Location Seaside Park, NJ  |  Landscape Design Cording Landscape Design  |  Outdoor Furniture Selection Donna Sirianni  |  Swimming Pool Liquid Inc./Liquidscapes
  • Soft lighting bathes this stately Seaside Park home in a subtle glow.

  • Porches at the front, rear and side allow plenty of space to enjoy the seaside air.

  • Plantings at the front of the home were chosen for sturdiness in the face of coastal weather and “to make the grounds look like a cultured dune,” landscape designer Beth Pellegrini says.

  • Cushiony chairs and a fire feature make the back porch a cozy place to gather.

  • The relaxing backyard space features a pool with curved edges, a bar area and seating under a pergola. A large stone acts as the “table” surrounded by a stone bench as seen on the lower right side of the pool photo.

  • A pergola offers a bit of shade on sunny days. A fire pit offers a bit of warmth on chilly nights.

  • The beach entry pool gently integrates with its surroundings and is framed by a stone wall and plantings.

  • Plantings soften the hardscape of the pool area. The fire pit has a 3-inch-thick cap cut from a single slab of bluestone. Custom cushions on the hand-tooled semicircular granite sofa ensure comfort around the fire.

  • Curved teak “boardwalks” cross the stone tiles of the pool deck.

  • Hydrangeas bring bold color to the summer landscape.

  • Most of the planter walls were built at seat height for those who want to sit and enjoy the surroundings. Pellegrini included flowers in a variety of colors in her landscape design.

The living is easy but the landscape is tough at this seashore retreat.

When the catastrophe that was Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore in 2012, builders were in the early stages of construction of a Seaside Park home. Though this particular plot of land was spared the worst of Sandy’s fury, the storm was a devastating reminder of the vicissitudes of Mother Nature. Keeping that in mind, the owners of this residence called in Beth Pellegrini of Cording Landscape Design in Towaco, NJ. As someone who makes a living designing outdoor environments, Pellegrini is acutely familiar with the whims of the weather, but she is also adept at creating natural settings that stand up to the elements.

Pellegrini had worked with the homeowners previously and understood the sort of setting they envisioned for their backyard. “They wanted a lot of stone and natural boulders,” she says. Stone is an ideal choice, of course; it’s been weathering storms since time immemorial. Pellegrini used durable quartzite pavers for the pool deck. Granite planter walls mark the perimeter of the space.

Pellegrini incorporated teak and mahogany components. Both types of wood are robust and age to a lovely patina. A teak “boardwalk,” traverses the pool deck, leading toward the mahogany pergola.

Even on a beautiful day, a coastal environment can wreak havoc with plant materials. So the flora chosen for this project needed the ability to thrive in sandy soil and salty air. At the rear of the home, black pines and ‘Flushing’ yews—among other trees and bushes—add greenery while helping to screen the property from wind gusts. Decorative grasses add an untamed element and create a mid-height layer between the trees, shrubs and lower-lying flowers.

The landscaping at the front of the house required even more highly resilient plants because the ocean is just steps away. Pellegrini included such sturdy specimens as rugosa roses, black-eyed Susans, and ‘Torulosa’ junipers. At both the front and back, Pellegrini “tried to get as much in the palette as possible. We used a lot of shrub roses, hydrangeas and daylilies. There’s a lot of summer color.”

There’s also a lot of year-round style. Large decorative boulders—carved from the same type of granite used for the stone walls—dot the property. The randomly placed rocks match the surroundings, contributing to the sense that the entire backyard was hewn from one massive outcropping.

Pellegrini then added other amenities on the homeowners’ wish list. Two fire features—one built from stone and paired with a matching bench, another on a porch table—mean that backyard fun doesn’t stop just because chilly weather arrives. Even a little rain won’t hinder the action. The pergola offers one of several sheltered spaces, as does the large porch off the kitchen.

Pellegrini notes that the homeowners love to entertain, and this is certainly the place to welcome family and friends. It’s a gorgeous spot that will be a leisure-time destination for many years—come rain or shine or whatever the wind blows in.

For a look at the interiors of this home, please see “Sand Castle” in our April/May 2017 issue.