Summerset at Frick Park Garden Walk with Kathy Woll
Summerset at Frick Park’s small gardens offer unique challenges–and unique possibilities.
An experienced Summerset gardener and co-owner of Espalier Gardening, Kathy Woll has some great tips on helping your garden look its best. As one of Summerset at Frick Park’s very first residents, Woll has been a part of its transformation from a new development into a thriving community, and she knows how important gardens are in creating a friendly, welcoming neighborhood.
All photos featured in this article were taken last week at Summerset at Frick Park for our 2014 garden walk.
1. Think about what you want your garden to be.
“Gardens, along with porches, are an outdoor room for us. They are a part of entertaining and dining, and an extension of the inside of your house,” Woll explained. Treat them like a room that you can design just like interior rooms. Your garden can reflect your style through color, choice of plants, layout, and other details like fountains, fences, and seating.
2. Consider privacy.
“When we moved in, we had low shrubs. We wanted some separation between the private and public space, so we put in a wrought iron fence and grew plants on and around it.” The fence provides some privacy, but because of the space between the bars, the garden still feels open. Plants that grow up and through fences soften the garden’s edges, making it feel soft and welcoming. “Going vertical is another way to soften your garden and create privacy. Consider things like trellises and climbers or tall, thin evergreens.”
3. Create a focal point.
“Because we have small gardens at Summerset at Frick Park, you need to look at your garden as a whole. When you look at a big garden, you see pieces of it, but when you look at a small garden, you see the whole thing.” Because of that, Woll emphasizes creating a focal point, which encloses the space and makes it feel like a whole. “It could be a tree, some interesting plantings, bright flowers, a container, a structure, a water feature–something that draws the eye out so you don’t get stuck at a point in the middle of the yard.”
4. Design with color in mind.
“Think about how you’d design the inside of a house–fewer colors tend to work better. If you want cohesiveness, you have to limit yourself with your choice of plants and colors, otherwise your garden might look chaotic.” Consider adding interest by using plants with diverse textures, different shades of green, and variegated leaves, which add light to shady areas. These choices subtly increase variety without adding more colors.
5. Odd numbers work best.
“Make design choices in odd numbers–three of the same plant, seven of the same shrub. Odd numbers tend to be more pleasing to the eye and increase visual interest.” When you look at a garden that has odd numbered groupings of plants, your brain can’t put the groupings into even pairs, and this keeps the eye moving through the space.
6. Look at your garden from multiple angles.
“Look at it from outside the house, but also from inside. These homes have a lot of windows and doorways that frame the backyard, so whatever is outside is brought into the house.”
Think about how your garden will look in different seasons. Trees are one way of adding interest throughout the year. “In our small gardens, you have to think about size. If you buy a tree, know its mature height and how quickly it grows, and pick something you love.” In Summerset, small trees with mature heights of fifteen feet or so work best. Consider things like the tree’s bark, whether or not it flowers in the spring or fruit in the summer, and the color of its leaves in the fall.
Excellent Pizza Near Summerset at Frick Park
You know where to go for great outdoor dining close to home, but what about those nights when you want to order a pizza, eat on the porch, and watch the sun set? Luckily, Summerset at Frick Park is minutes away from many of Pittsburgh’s best pizza joints.
Yelp review: 4 stars, 109 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “The pizza is overall much thinner than a lot of pizza places in the area and the sauce is packed with flavor…It’s delicious.”
*Participated in the Arbor Day pizza tasting contest at the community center.
Yelp review: 4 stars, 82 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “I think their pizzas are fantastic–very fresh ingredients and satisfying! Service has always been friendly as well. The wine selection is decent and I like the fact that you can see them cooking in front of you.”
Yelp review: 4 stars, 129 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “The pizzas are more ‘Italian style,’ featuring fresh slices of mozzarella as opposed to the shredded stuff, and there is no pepperoni to be found. I’ve probably had every pizza there and they are all good, but my favorites include the Margherita, Prosciutto, and Quattro Formaggi. The mozzarella is the star of the show–it is really top notch.”
Yelp review: 4 stars, 5 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “This is a casual place that has excellent pizza by the slice. You can order a whole pizza as well. They have tons of different kinds of pizza, and I really liked the crust.”
*Kosher, vegetarian, and dairy pizza
Yelp review: 4 stars, 26 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “My personal favorite pizza in the entire city. Do yourself a favor and get a pepperoni pizza (out of this world!) and an Italian hoagie double-baked in the oven.”
*Participated in the Arbor Day pizza tasting contest at the community center.
Yelp review: 4 stars, 32 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “There’s a good covering of good-tasting cheese which did not fall off the pizza when eating. The crust was crispy and of medium thickness, which meant the slice wasn’t floppy. My favorite part was the sauce, which had great flavor. As a matter of a fact you could see the spices when looking at it closely.”
Yelp review: 3.5 stars, 129 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “The best pizza in Pittsburgh, by far, is at this place. It’s a lot like Chicago style thin crust pizza, which is thicker than the thin New York style. They do not skimp on the cheese.”
*Winner of Arbor Day pizza tasting contest at the community center.
Yelp review: 3.5 stars, 30 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “They make own homemade dough and sauce, and they make own grilled chicken, steak, burgers, meatballs–so it is no frozen ingredients!”
Yelp review: 3.5 stars, 60 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “Great, huge New York slices are to be had at Pizza Sola and the toppings are interesting enough to set them apart from other shops.”
Yelp review: 3 stars, 38 reviews
What Pittsburghers say: “Some of the best Margherita pizza I’ve had in the Burgh.”
Builders Mark and Murray Rust on Cooling Efficiency at Summerset at Frick Park
When the weather is hot, Summerset at Frick Park stays cool–and green
Mark Rust and his father Murray of Montgomery-Rust, a Summerset at Frick Park builder, shared how homes stay comfortable while being energy efficient.
New homes use more efficient AC units and furnaces that not only use less energy, but are quieter. “We offer even more energy efficient options as upgrades, which are more than 92% efficient,” Mark explained.
But energy efficiency goes deeper into the construction of Summerset at Frick Park homes than heating and cooling units.
“The way that we have heating ducts installed, they’re sealed so that air doesn’t leak out through the joints of the ducts.” This puts less strain on the system to pump out hot or cold air. “Air gets where it’s supposed to go.”
Summerset at Frick Park’s homes are also insulated with expandable fiberglass foam installed between the window frame and the wall to prevent outside air from coming in, or inside air from leaking out. Montgomery-Rust undergoes periodic testing that measures how much air actually leaks out of the house and the ducts. “We score consistently very well,” Mark commented.
That means that Summerset homes hold in heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer. Plus, they aren’t drafty like older, less insulated homes. “We use energy-efficient windows and doors that cut down on air movement, which is important.”
At Summerset at Frick Park, it’s cool to be green.
Squirrel Hill Farmers Market Offers Produce and So Much More!
Squirrel Hill has a new family-friendly addition this year: its very own farmers market.
Located in the Beacon/Bartlett lot behind the 1900 block of Murray Avenue, the new Squirrel Hill farmers market offers fresh produce from local farms, bakeries, and coffee shops. Make the short trip every Sunday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to find fresh, locally-made and produced goods through November 23rd.
The farmers market has the traditional array of local farmers selling fruits and vegetables–Who Cooks for You Farm, McKinney’s Farm Market, and One Woman Farm, in addition to others, were all represented. But additionally, you’ll find baked goods from Good L’Oven bakery, local cheeses from Smicksburg Community Cheese, delicious pies from the Pittsburgh Pie Guy, soaps from Third Day Organics, homemade salsas from Cinco de Mayo, and coffee from Zeke’s.
Take a quick trip from Summerset at Frick Park this summer and visit the Squirrel Hill Farmers Market for great local food and the convenience of city living!
2014 Outdoor Series in Pittsburgh
Summers in Pittsburgh are a great time for outdoor entertainment, and at Summerset, outdoor concerts and movies are never far away.
Enjoy this popular outdoor concert series in Point Breeze in the shade of the Frick mansion and its beautiful grounds. Listeners are often seen in lawn chairs or on picnic blankets drinking wine and snacking on cheese and crackers. Make an evening of live music and socializing by sitting in the talking space near the back, or sit in the silent section near the stage to enjoy the music without chatter.
Unwind on Sunday mornings from June to August at Point Breeze’s well-loved summer music series held in Mellon Park. Between 10:30 and noon, listen to groups like the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amadeus Trio. A “Best Brunch” competition hosted by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts awards prizes for best presentation, most effort, and best food selection. Take a picnic blanket and bring the kids for family-friendly entertainment.
Watch movies on the big screen in Schenley Park every Sunday and Wednesday at dusk. With a wide array of movies–from Frozen to Gravity to The Hunger Games–this summer series is both kid and adult-friendly. Arrive early at 7:00 to enjoy mid-week musical performances before the movie begins, and check out the full list of movies on the Citiparks website to make sure that the movie is appropriate for the whole family.
Enjoy Pittsburgh jazz favorites like Maureen Budway perform Sunday evenings in Highland Park throughout August and September at this extremely popular outdoor summer concert series. Bring a picnic dinner and friends for a relaxing evening in the park. The series is dog and kid-friendly, but please keep your favorite canine on a leash. Refreshments like italian ice and hot dogs are available.
This concert series is great for those who work downtown. Take a relaxing lunch break with live music in Mellon Square Thursdays throughout the summer. Enjoy the musical stylings of local bands until August 21st.
Although these destinations are a bit of a drive, the outdoor concerts held at Hartwood Acres and South Park are well worth the trip–the larger venues allow popular bands and bigger crowds. On this summer’s schedule are artists like Buckwheat Zydeco, Lake Street Dive, and Macy Gray.