Tranquil Garden Haven

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Escape to serenity and beauty in a backyard garden designed for sharing and enjoyment.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Nestled in a serene neighborhood in Overland Park, Kansas, there stands a breathtaking backyard garden. It is a haven crafted with unwavering devotion by its owner, a testament to his commitment to fashioning a sanctuary of natural splendor and tranquility. Overflowing with an abundance of vibrant blooms, verdant foliage, and eye-catching adornments, this paradise casts a spell on all who behold its beauty.

What distinguishes this garden is not only its visual allure but also its noble purpose — to be a shared sanctuary for others to enjoy viewing, whether passersby or welcome guests. In a world often consumed by the frenzy of daily life, this outdoor retreat offers solace — a place where time seems to slow, and the magnificence of nature can be savored by all who stop and sit for a while. 

Though not currently recognized as a Master Gardener, one could easily mistake the owner for such, given the jaw-dropping wonder he has created in his backyard. Seventeen years ago, when the owner and his spouse first settled into this home, visions of a flourishing garden danced in their minds. Though the journey to transformation didn’t begin immediately, the owner eventually rolled up his sleeves, ready to embark on the labor of love that awaited. With each spade of earth turned, the magic unfolded. It took about eight years  from inception to fruition, but as any gardener knows, a garden is never truly complete — it is a living canvas, ever-evolving with time.

The owner tirelessly dedicates himself to the garden’s upkeep, a daily ritual fueled by his passion for this project. While he enjoys simply relaxing in its splendor, he never can quite forget the “to do” list.

“Every time I sit down to relax, I see something I need to take care of,” he mused. But he doesn’t mind at all. In fact, it is truly something he loves and enjoys.

Originally, the backyard was accentuated by a berm designed to conceal unsightly light poles in the background. However, the owner’s overall vision aimed higher — to celebrate nature’s grandeur. As such, he ingeniously elevated the landscape by adding vertical elements atop the berm, drawing the eye towards vibrant hues, effectively obscuring the poles from predominant view. On the berm’s back side, a perennial garden of sorts blooms with perennials, day lilies, irises, and peonies — an ever-changing tapestry of colors. 

“There is a walking trail on that side of the berm, so people walking by can enjoy viewing the garden from  that perspective,” said the owner.

Overall, the garden unfolds into three distinct realms: the rose garden, the ever-changing triangle garden, and the patio oasis. The triangle garden, a perennial source of surprise, welcomed two glorious yucca trees last year. 

“I try to change out the elements every year to keep it interesting,” expressed the owner, in reference to those trees.

While the owner’s style leans towards modern design, the garden exudes a timeless elegance — a reflection of his creative spirit, previously unexpressed until this backyard became his canvas. Even the patio, though unaltered from its original size, now boasts marble accents, a subtle nod to the owner’s penchant for texture and symmetry. Further, interesting accents, like the black fountain and Old-World planters, add character, creating a symphony of contrasts.

Among the garden’s most common plants are Green Giant Arborvitae, Green Gem Boxwoods, Perfecta Junipers, Limelight Hydrangeas, Begonias, and Mandevilla — each contributing to the tapestry of botanical marvels.

This outdoor masterpiece has not only captivated those who visit, but it has also garnered a bit of fame. The owner’s outreach to the Kansas State University Extension Office to ask a few gardening questions a while back led him to the late Dennis Patton, a revered figure in Johnson County’s gardening community. Patton, renowned for his friendly demeanor and horticultural expertise, was captivated by the garden’s splendor, incorporating it into a prestigious private garden tour of Kansas City last year.

This backyard garden is decidedly a strong tribute to the owner’s passion and dedication — a labor of love where nature’s beauty intertwines with human creativity. It is a sanctuary you can immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature and find respite from the chaos of the world. More than a mere garden, it is a living testament to the transformative power of nature and the joy of sharing its wonders with others.

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