The relatively small lot size proved to be an asset rather than a problem. As Eric explains, "We weren't trying to create illusions, but to create life-the issue is not the lack of land but what you do with the space you actually occupy." In other words, you can live large in a small space-it's all in the way you approach it.
Making the garden as productive as it was alluring was paramount. Mary, describing the process, says, "David told me that we would not talk about planting schemes until the house was built and the terraces, paths, and retaining walls were in place in the garden." But, says Pfieffer, "Mary was very subtle, quietly leading me to think about the planting-asking me 'Where will I plant the fruit trees? Is there something edible that will grow here? Don't forget to leave space for seven varieties of fig!'
"Mary was insistent. She wanted something edible when I wanted boxwood!" Pfieffer remembers with a laugh. And he is the first to admit that working with Mary and Eric changed him; he now includes a wide range of edible ornamentals in many of his projects.
Looking back, Mary remarks that if they had not met Pfieffer, the whole process would have been quite different, and she would most likely have ended having a home garden in containers. Instead, says Eric, "We have a garden with a house on it."
Even though the garden accommodates a spacious modern house, it manages to provide enough organically grown fruit and vegetables for most meals. As Mary and Eric are quick to point out, it only takes a few beanpods to make a healthy serving, or a few freshly gathered salad leaves, tomatoes, and peppers to make an appetizing salad. And at a time when urban gardening is catching on, it is encouraging to find a practical garden is also intriguingly ornamental-one that is so completely nourishing, feeding all the senses. "Small lots," says Eric, "can become powerhouses."