My Garden: A Cool, Quiet Corner of the World

My Garden: A Cool, Quiet Corner of the World

To create the sense of a secret outdoor room, partners Robert Khazzam and Kevin Treanor planted a woodland garden, complete with a “forest floor” and a canopy of trees that provide deep shades of green and dappled sunlight in their private oasis.

Woodland shade garden

Once an uninviting stretch of underbrush littered with refuse from an adjoining lot, the potential for this Dix Hills, New York property lay hidden. Nearly 18 years ago, the only sign of shadows and shade came from a stand of seventeen Long Island pitch pines, several mature black cherry trees and a solitary oak. But owners Robert Khazzam and Kevin Treanor recognized the solitary specimens as the overstory to their woodland shade garden.


“Initially, we wished to both soften the appearance of the right angles of the fence that defined this space at the rear of the plot on three sides and create the sense of a deep forest glen or hollow,” says Khazzam. Guided by trial-and-error as much as by design, Khazzam and Treanor now find the corner of their garden beckons with cool shade, the smell of cool, moist earth, and the sounds of falling water and birdsong.


Beneath larger shade trees, this walkway meanders through assorted Japanese maples for outstanding fall color with spring blooming Eastern redbud, (Cercis canadensis) and flowering pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select'). Beneath these are assorted rhododendrons and showy ferns.

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