By now, you probably know that we created a design guide this summer with the intent of helping you create a home you LOVE. Its purpose is to deliver some inspiration for how to live well and feel good in your place today, before you’re even considering selling!
And I could not be more excited to introduce Jackson Den Herder, a client of mine, in this inaugural guide. He’s a brilliant architect, and when I visited his home and saw the state-of-the-art chicken coop he had made (don’t get me started on all of the gorgeous modern furniture he crafted), I knew that his work needed to be shared. His backyard, with the coop, verdant garden and inviting table – all of this seemed to embody the spirit of living well that I was hoping to capture.
Hear more from Jackson below!
Garden Design with Jackson Den Herder
When we moved to Chapel Hill three years ago, we were looking for a home and a family friend referred us to Shenandoah. This is our first home so everything was new to us and she was super helpful in guiding us through the home buying process. We hit it off right away and have stayed in touch since.
As an architect, the parameters that described the sort of house I would want to live in were rather tight. Shenandoah helped us find this great 1941 cottage originally built by a woman with a personal story that captured our interest. The lot made my mid-western heart sing as it is generally flat and abuts one of the few orthogonal streets in town. The backyard was overgrown with invasive shrubs and vines and our first task after moving in was to clear away the brush to see what was here. We then developed our garden master plan that involved outdoor dining, deer fencing, raised beds, a chicken coop and garden shed, as well as a place for compost and trash. We sited all these things around an existing deck and removed a few trees to provide adequate light for our vegetables.
Although the local soil is rather poor in quality, we wanted to use as much as possible so our beds would retain a sense of the terroir. We improve the soil annually with compost and other organic inputs. We love the Chapel Hill gravel used in the historic sidewalks and paths around neighborhoods like Gimghoul and UNC, so we used it to create walkways through our garden. I’m fond of design history so when it came to our outdoor dining table, I opted for a copy of Donald Judd’s La Mansana Table from 1982. Our deck chairs are copies of Gerrit Rietveld’s Crate Chairs from 1934.
Taken as a whole, the shed responds to the dimensions of the raised beds and serves as their backdrop. The shed has three sections: a chicken coop, an enclosed chicken run (with access to an unenclosed chicken run), and garden storage. Its simple roof efficiently sheds water and does not compete with the geometries of the main house. Inspired by Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Pavilion (2011) and Tanizaki’s ‘In Praise of Shadows’ (1933), the shed is clad in shou sugi ban – a Japanese wood preservation technique.
In our garden we like to grow standards such as tomatoes and basil, things we can’t get locally such as Carolina Reaper peppers and alpine strawberries, as well as southern crops we want to get to know better such as tobacco, cotton, peanuts and okra.
When I’m not in our garden, I’m working on projects for my firm: Maker Architecture. My practice of architecture has been quite broad and my work has ranged from high rise condo towers to single family homes to garden design. Maker Architecture seeks to create design excellence for the common good: good for our clients, good for our environment, and good for our community.
We’re so glad Shenandoah helped us buy our house. It is here where we have put down roots and created some goodness in the place we call home.
a note from shen
If you want to design a new garden, create a state-of-the-art chicken coop, or accomplish any other architecture project, contacting Jackson is a MUST! He can make your dreams come true.