Eric Sternfels calls garden making "an interesting, quiet labor," which has resulted in a landscape filled with usable small garden ideas. With a background in architecture, he designed a garden in a long narrow space behind his vintage 1840s home in Philadelphia. His passion for the art of plant placement is manifested in such simple, yet elegant solutions for an overly shaded, narrow yard just 18 feet wide by 150 feet long.
"There's so much shade it's hard to find color from long blooming plants," says Eric, who has created a model for everyone who lives beneath the canopies of old trees. It's clear from this sweet little patio that plants are indeed what make his garden pop. This space behind the house is nestled into densely planted ferns and a wide variety of hydrangeas. The furniture originated at auction sales, which Eric painted just the right shade. The red bench is a striking standout to mark the space visually, while the armchairs float with the conversations.