SOUTHERN LIVING Profiles J. Mark White

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May 2009

Home & Garden Problem Solved

By REBECCA BULL REED


“Mark Did a Stellar Job Maximizing Usable Outdoor Living Area.”

No one ever wants to cut down a beautiful, healthy tree. Face it: The guilt that ensues is akin to forgetting to pick up your child from carpool. More often than not, the argument to cut is centered on saving money, but what these homeowners saw in their own backyard was priceless: The statley American elm gave their home a sense of permanence.

IT’ OURS, NOW WHAT?
Dan Melman and Ed Rogers needed to overhaul their 84-year-old D.C. home. The update would encompass not only a footprint-altering addition but also a backyard renovation. Keeping the tree’s health in mind, they first placed a call to Landscape Architect J. Mark White, owner of GardenWise, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia. He called an arborist at The Care of Trees in DC.

ROOM TO GROW
While the landscape plan was still in the developmental stage, Mark worked closely with The Care of Trees to tweak the plans for both the house and the yard. “Six months prior to breaking ground, we prepared the tree for construction,” says arborist Shawn Sifers. The home’s addition was stairstepped so that the new breakfast room cleared the tree by a good 8 feet.

HAPPINESS ALL AROUND
With construction finished, everyone is pleased with the results. “Even our neighbors who requested we save the tree are delighted,” says Dan.

Mark did a stellar job maximizing usable outdoor area.  “My goal was to create an upper terrace for dining and relaxing along with a lower space to allow for overflow during large gatherings,” says Mark. “Best of all, the lower terrace also doubles as a recreation area for their twin boys.”

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