The White Garden
Words by Andrea Darr | Photos by Matt Kocourek
Inspired by scenes from across the pond, a master gardener creates a tidy, low-maintenance landscape to enjoy.
am Meyer’s love for classic European design isn’t reserved only for her home’s interiors. She adores the trimmed and tidied look of English gardens that highlight a single color—white. And maybe a few hints of lavender tucked into baskets.
“I don’t like it to be too busy,” she explains. “And I like things with straight edges. There’s a lot of clipped work here because I love the look.”
European hornbeams and boxwoods form the foundation of the planted spaces, while less expensive concrete pavers with chippy edges mimic the look of cobblestone. A wood privacy fence enclosing the space is painted Urbane Bronze—the same color used on the base cabinets in the kitchen—and seems to disappear into the background.
“I wanted to carry the look outside so it’s all one cohesive space when the door is open,” she says.
Accessible from three entry points—the den, kitchen and butlery—the manicured wonderland is a haven for the family without requiring intense weeding or mowing. Pam spends about an hour a day watering and weeding.
“I grew up on a farm and have always loved working outside,” Pam says—so much so that she attended the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City program and opened her garden to tour-goers in 2015.
Back then, the garden was just beginning to take shape, with baby European hornbeams that hadn’t had a chance to grow into the massive hedges they are today. At the center of it all was a glimmering pool in light blue—a foundational color that Pam used to splash elsewhere, such as on throw pillows and shutters. She even went through a painted-furniture phase until her tastes changed.
Turquoise remnants remain on the front exterior—charming as ever—but all the iron furniture was replaced with wicker.
“Now I want everything in neutrals,” she says.
As a bunch, gardeners are known to constantly change their landscape, and Pam has certainly edited over the years.
“The space has evolved,” Pam says. “It’s familiar but different.”
The most noticeable change is the highlight of the space—an open-air pool house. A pergola formerly stood in its spot, its wooden slats open to the sky. Paint chipped easily from the blistering heat, and getting airflow below wasn’t a breeze. Climbing roses had grown in beautifully and offered some protection from the elements, but their season was disappointingly short.
“They were pretty, but they only bloomed from the end of May to the beginning of June,” Pam says. “It was a maintenance nightmare to crawl up there to trim them.”
There was another big reason for the upgrade. The couple discovered that a renter in the carriage house next door had a full view of what they thought was private space.
A more substantial cabana—with a high-pitched roofline—was designed to replace the open-slatted pergola. Fans keep it cool so the couple can enjoy their morning coffee outside. Their fur baby, Reggie, is always at their feet, but he gets his own prized spot: a parterre garden. Classical in style, it’s got a hidden secret: artificial turf.
“The grass was always dead there, where he did his business,” Pam says. Now the grass is always greener on the other side.
Actually, with Pam’s touch, there is no other side. Everything—indoors and out—looks perfectly in place, is low maintenance and always ready
“We spend so much time outside in the pool house, especially on weekends,” Pam says. “It’s where we drink coffee in the morning, and in the afternoon, we have a pre-dinner cocktail.”