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This is Our Ultimate Garden Paradise

One-of-a-kind finds and clever plantings give this Appalachian sanctuary remarkable style.

When Stephanie and Bill Reeves happened upon a purple smoke tree espalier in a neighbor's garden, they were utterly enamored and immediately set about finding the feature's designer.

"We wove "Princess Diana" scarlet clematis through the foliage of a smoke tree to form an espalier," Atlanta-based landscape designer Alex Smith explains. The Reeveses found the result, a rich combination of purple jewel tones and vivid greens, impossible to forget. So the couple asked Smith to create the garden at Thistlewaite, their mountain retreat in Highlands, North Carolina—and to include a few of the smoke tree espaliers in the design.

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Three outdoor rooms compose the garden: the entry, the courtyard, and the rock garden. "The house is designed so every room has a view of a garden," Bill Reeves says. An avid gardener himself, Reeves knew that he wanted a space with visual impact as well as function, a place that he and his family could enjoy year-round. Each of the outdoor rooms has its own personality, but the transitions between them are seamless.

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