Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture

Apr 082014


I am in the process of designing a parterre for our front yard.  It is the perfect solution to replace our lawn.  We live next to a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay and have had little success growing a lawn here without using chemicals.  A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, separated and connected by gravel pathways. The beds may be edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and may not contain flowers.

The gravel beds will be great for drainage.  Maryland has a ‘rain tax’.  The concept behind the tax is to help control the runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.  The tax is assessed on the percentage of your lot which is impervious to absorb rain.

French parterres originated in the 15th-century, often taking the form of knot gardens.  Knot gardens were first established in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

800px-Knot_garden_St_FagansLater, during the 17th century Baroque era, they became more elaborate and more stylized. The French parterre reached its highest development at Versailles which inspired many other similar parterres throughout Europe.  According to Wikipedia, “The parterre was developed in France by Claude Mollet, the founder of a dynasty of nurserymen-designers that lasted deep into the 18th century. His inspiration in developing the 16th-century patterned compartimens—simple interlaces formed of herbs, either open and infilled with sand or closed and filled with flowers—was the painter Etienne du Pérac, who returned from Italy to the château of Anet, where he and Mollet were working. About 1595 Mollet introduced compartment-patterned parterres to royal gardens at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Fontainebleau; the fully developed scrolling embroidery-like parterres en broderie appear for the first time in Alexandre Francini’s engraved views of the revised planting plans at Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1614.”

Versailles Knot Garden


Parterres are the low embellishments of gardens, which have great grace, especially when seen from an elevated position: they are made of borders of several shrubs and sub-shrubs of various colours, fashioned in different manners, as compartments, foliage, embroideries (passements), moresques, arabesques, grotesques, guilloches, rosettes, sunbursts (gloires), escutcheons, coats-of-arms, monograms and emblems (devises)

Traité du iardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l’art, pp 81–82 (quoted by Laird)




Summer Garden, St. Petersburg


Lake Maggiore, Italy



A knot garden is a garden of very formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from boxwoods whose leaves have a sweet smell when bruised. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres.

So I am not sure if I have a preference on the height of my boxwood hedges.  I will have 2 knot gardens/parterres 21 feet square.  I came upon this similar knot garden design online which were my measurements.





18. memorial day weekend summer

This is so amazing.





Love the combination of blue green and yellow green.












This looks like a wondeful book.






The Great Gatsby




 April 8, 2014  Posted by at 3:17 pm Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture 1 Response »
Sep 032013

If you love mosaics,  New Ravenna Mosaics has a magnificent collection of  handcrafted luxury mosaics in glass and stone for residential and commercial installations.

Aurelia jewel glass mosaic


Sarah Baldwin, the owner and visionary behind New Ravenna, was inspired to create mosaics  after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in 1990, where she admired an ancient Roman mosaic design which was installed on the floor, with a repeating black-and-white pattern of marble and thought, “Why isn’t anyone making these beautiful things anymore?”  At the time she was studying for her masters in fine art painting at the University of Pennsylvania. She wanted to create mosaics using the tesserae as paint to create designs and  texture that would work in any style architecture or decor.  She has definitely created her vision.  That is what makes her mosaics stand out.  They are timeless and elegant.  I just love to see artists, artisans and masters in the field of the decorative arts take an ancient art form and create today’s masterpieces.
Kingston Lacy Stone Mosaic

Chinoiserie jewel glass mosaic

Marabel Stone Mosaic

Marabel  jewel glass mosaic

Marabel Stone Mosaic


Climbing Vine Jewel Glass Mosaic

tumbled marble mosaic backsplash

premium glass mosaic tile custom pool

Egret custom backsplash

mosaic tile patterns for spa

36 x 48 inch Leopard panel

mosaic tile patterns fileplace surround

Paisley Vine Jewel Glass Mosaic

Plum Blossom Stone Mosaic

Tile Market sign

The company offers decorative borders, murals, field tile and medallions.

Venus 5 3/8"

Alexander 6"

The inspiration for the company name was the ancient Byzantine city of Ravenna in Italy,  known for its mosaics.  New Ravenna,  a combination of honoring the ancient art of mosaic and making it American.  Today New Ravenna has 100 employees and is represented in over 200 designer showrooms across the country and internationally.

The website has  easy to use design tools to assist you in designing your mosaic.  The concept boards are great close ups that show you the colors and placement.

Marabel  jewel glass mosaic

Serena jewel glass mosaic

Climbing Vine

The Miraflores Collection – A collaboration with Interior Designer, Paul Schatz, the  ‘Miraflores Collection’ offers 19 complex infinite patterns inspired by his travels throughout Spain, Portugal, Mexico and a passion for Morocco and studies of islamic geometric art.

Paul Schatz Castilla Concept Board

Castilla stone mosaic

Castilla stone mosaic

Paul Schatz Avila Concept Board

Paul Schatz Granada Grande Concept Board

Paul Schatz Alcazar Concept Board

Jaen Grande stone mosaic

Jaen stone mosaic
My sister just saw The International Mosaiculture event at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Incredible!  The show  is back in Montréal after a ten-year absence. Around 50 stunning works created by horticulturist-artists from 25 countries are displayed  from June 22 to September 29, 2013.









Apr 112013

The weather here is like a perfect summer day and my thoughts are about beautiful outdoor spaces and places.  The cherry and bradford pear trees are blossoming.  Life is good.  This is a great time to announce all the changes we have made at Beaux-Artes.    When  Beaux-Artes started in 2002 all of our products were made by a contract manufacturer.  We are now the manufacturer and have made numerous improvements in the quality of our products.  We now cast in the best urethane resin in the marketplace.  It is strong with a high heat tolerance. It  gives us beautiful reproductions of the historic ornament that is our trademark.   After a major learning curve, we now use 3-D software and CNC engineering machinery to scale and resize our decorative grilles and vent covers and recessed light trims.  All these improvements allow Beaux-Artes to offer the beauty of historic ornament in products sized for use in the modern building industry with what we refer to as ‘modern intrusions’, which provide us with all the creature comforts we have today without sacrificing classic beauty.   Technology and history have joined together.

See what I mean.  A before and after from our Arts and Crafts Style.



 April 11, 2013  Posted by at 3:59 pm Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »