New House on the Block

0025Just to the south and up the hill from St. Marys Hospital is Rochester’s historic residential district. The neighborhood is quiet and dignified, and its homes, built on a limestone bluff in the early 1900s, reign on spacious, well-manicured lots.

    Here, on a narrow parcel of land between two sizeable, 100-year-old houses, Donna and Kevin Greason planned to build their family home.

Fitting in

A paramount concern to the Greasons, and their neighbors, when they built their home a few years ago was that their new dwelling fit aesthetically into the existing surroundings. For example, they didn’t want a great height disparity between their home and those nearby and they didn’t want the newly constructed home to look “new.”

    The Greasons chose Jason Sendrick of Heritage Builders to build their French country-style dream home.

    “Jason did a great job and we have everything we wanted,” says Donna. “And if you drive through the area, it’s not really obvious which home was built just a couple of years ago.”

    The new brick, geothermal home with stone accents, steep-pitched roof and French design exudes character comparable to the established dwellings nearby.

Curb appeal

As the home neared completion, it was time to think about landscaping.

    “Because the house is large and on a smaller lot, we didn’t want the landscaping to be overwhelming,” said Donna. “It needed to be tidy and well-manicured.”

    The Greasons consulted with Jeff Feece, landscape design manager at Sargent’s Landscape Nursery, for plans and a design.

    Just as the Greasons mingled their home architecturally into the existing neighborhood, they eased their landscaping gracefully into their neighbors’. For example, gardens on each side of their home blend over the property line and are embellished with perennials like Creeping Myrtle, Hot Lips, rose bushes, boxwood shrubs and geraniums.

    The back of the lot is elevated and terraced and is home to a host of hummingbirds and butterflies that are drawn to the plants in the Greason’s rain garden.

    Beyond the rain garden is a retaining wall papered with Boston ivy and garnished with assorted lilies. A row of crabapple trees meets a line of dwarf lilacs assuring privacy to the patio and back
of the home.

Keeping up with the roses

Keeping all this landscaping in check could be a daunting task, but Donna thoroughly enjoys the work.

    “I come from a long line of Irish potato farmers, so gardening is in my blood,” she says. “I call on Jeff [from Sargent’s] every now and then for advice or help but otherwise I really enjoy doing it.”

    The Greasons enjoy their backyard landscaping not only from their patio, but the kitchen, dining area and great room as well. The veil of flowers provides the perfect backdrop for an annual photo of Kevin and Donna’s 13 year-old twin daughters, Christie and Gracie.

Settled at last

Looking at the neighborhood and her plants that have grown in gracefully, Donna is smitten with the place she and her family now call home.

    “It’s interesting how no matter how many different people have lived in the homes here, the homes are always referred to by the name of the original occupant,” says Donna as she identifies some of the houses nearby.

    Hopefully, the Greason’s stately home—which is the newest on the block by about 100 years—will always be known simply as
The Greason’s.

Penny Marshall is a Rochester freelance writer.