Garden Tour: A Historic Property in Bexley, Ohio, Becomes the Ideal Place for Outdoor Gatherings

For Kevin Reiner, converting the grand west lawn of a private estate in Bexley, Ohio, into an elegant, party-ready garden was not a finite project. Rather, the horticulturist, designer, and founder of Columbus, Ohio-based Kevin Reiner Design considers it a phase in the continuing evolution of the historic property’s enviable outdoor spaces.

“Overall, projects continue each season as we journey through with these clients,” he says of his eight-year-long, ongoing relationship with the owners of the dreamily romantic house that was built in 1933 and is surrounded by seven private garden areas.

Commissioned to transform a large, in-ground pool that was deemed to be unsalvageable into an area that can serve as a venue for social gatherings of 80-plus guests (or an intimate dinner for two), and tasked with moving the overall garden design toward a classic yet clean-lined style with relaxed elements throughout, Reiner turned to his travels to England and France, where he toured gardens and country estates, for inspiration.

To connect and update each garden—a boxwood parterre, an all-green galleria garden, a rose garden, two intimate dining gardens, and the grand west lawn garden punctuated with large boxwood and summer annuals—Reiner took function and flow into careful consideration. He started with focal points and vistas, evaluating each space from every direction, both inside and out, and introduced new plantings that complemented the existing colors and textures, all while moving the design to a more tailored palette.

The property’s existing stonework, statues, mature trees, and architecture influenced the project. While matching the historical stone and finishes posed a challenge—as did the somewhat limited access points to the garden renovation locations—Reiner was ultimately able to accomplish the homeowners’ vision through careful and detailed planning, resulting in thoughtfully designed outdoor living spaces that celebrate each season.

Photography by Ashley and Coty Henry. Kevin Reiner Design is featured in The Scout Guide Columbus.