The past is a breath exhaled into the future as a gentle breeze. It carries with it a time of yesterday yearning to be part of today. It’s as though it begs to be reborn in a new era experiencing the subtle nuances between then and now. Tulsa has many of these ragged breaths which have blown among the years and one that has recently experienced a rebirth. The Harwelden Mansion has recently completed a makeover both inside and out. To walk its grounds on a spring evening is as though nothing has changed since its construction in 1923. As one strolls under the trees, next to the pristine pond and trickling water only yards away from the carriage house, the faint voices of original owners Earl and Mary Harwell can almost be heard in the swaying breeze.
The grounds are now quite breathtaking with the English Tudor-Collegiate Gothic structure nestled peacefully in their midst. It was a collaboration of creative minds that was able to breathe fresh air into the grounds. Howell & Vancuren Landscape Architects, Szafranski Landscape Architecture, Tom’s Outdoor Living and Jonesplan Construction worked together to bring a vision of past springs and nature’s splendor to life.
“It was an interesting project because it was a collaborative effort between the four of us,” Arlin Vancuren of Howell & Vancuren Landscape Architects said. Owner Teresa Knox also had input as to the design and vision of the property.
“We wanted to create the perfect English garden, complete with a manicured lawn and over-grown flowerbeds. We used the original 1920’s landscape plan as our design inspiration in order to pay tribute to the original owners, Earl and Mary Harwell. The transformation of the outdoor space is an extension of the magnificent architecture and beauty of the mansion,” Knox said. Carl Szafranski, Arlin Vancuren and Jeremy Steele with Tom’s Outdoor headed up the design team working with Knox.
“Together, we were able to put together a very nice design," Tom’s Outdoor Living owner, Tom Butchko said.
This project was a collaborative effort with Tom’s Outdoor and Jonesplan Construction on the install side. Jonesplan focused on the hardscaping such as rejuvenating the existing pond and stone pathways within the garden area. They also installed a new pump for the waterfall and added native stone to the lagoon floor for a natural appearance. In addition, they built a stone patio behind the carriage house and set slabs of regional stone throughout the garden as walkways, explained Jonesplan superintendent, Wade Jones.
Tom’s Outdoor Living focused on the boulder walls which can be seen on the outside perimeter of the gardens in the back of the house. In addition, the company handled sodding the property, landscape install, drainage, and irrigation repair, however, it is the lighting that Butchko is most proud of within the scope of their work.
“I am most excited about the outdoor lighting. Teresa Knox was gracious enough to trust us and our vision for illuminating the property. So, we got to highlight the amazing exterior of the house and were also able to illuminate the pathways, trees, the pond and the entryway which brings the property to life at night,” Butchko said.
“We wanted to come up with a plan that retained the integrity of the mansion and it just needed a good facelift," Steele noted about the project. He explained that they did this using many of the older plants and designing new ways to implement an old style garden of peace and serenity. “I think it turned out beautifully,” he added.