Backyard Escape: Romantic Conservatory
Lush plantings, colorful blooms, and easy-breezy furnishings add life and comfort to this charming garden house.
Cozy Backyard Escape
Jeri Farmer loves French style, so it’s no coincidence that this Douglasville, Georgia, homeowner created a glass garden house inspired by the glass Pyramid at the Louvre museum in Paris. Made of salvaged windows, her little glass house is surrounded by a landscape not unlike an Impressionist painting, including stone pathways and 13 different kinds of pink and blue hydrangeas.
The process began eight years ago, when Jeri and her husband, Benny, wanted to create a focal point for their backyard. Their son David began collecting old windows, and then David and Benny spent a weekend attaching them to create the 10- by 12-foot structure.
Many of the items in Jeri’s conservatory are vintage or one of a kind. Similar items are available from Le Jardin Blanc.
One of Jeri’s favorite features? “I love the tin roof on top,” she says. “In the Old South, particularly out in the country, houses had tin roofs and the sound of the rain was music to one’s ears. We wanted that music in our little house.”
A daybed; a dining table and chairs; and a long, white sideboard reinforce the feeling that this is an actual room. Electricity in the garden house means that at night, the Farmers can enjoy the glow of the conservatory from their main house. “When the lamps are on, it’s such a pleasure to look out the back windows of our home and see it all lit up,” says Jeri.
An armillary sphere on a pedestal is ringed with boxwoods and pine straw. It’s surrounded by a gravel path leading from the main house toward the conservatory. Behind it, a metal arch made of old pipes is softened by French blue draperies hung on shower-curtain rings.
‘Mini Penny’ hydrangeas, which were named for the late Atlanta hydrangea enthusiast Penny McHenry (founder of the American Hydrangea Society), add color to the garden surrounding the house. Jeri estimates she has more than 100 English boxwoods in the ground, along with seasonal bloomers such as hostas and her beloved hydrangeas.