Jack and Maria Fischer kept both form and function in mind when they designed their Talbot County home and landscape. “We use this place,” Maria said. “It’s a treat to have people here.” (Photo by Sean Clougherty)

When they moved to the Eastern Shore in 2002, Jack and Maria Fischer had a blank canvas with which to build their house and landscape.
It was quite a change, coming from Northern Virginia.
And that’s just how they wanted it.
“It was a cornfield and we worked our way through the cornfield and found this and said, ‘this is the place for us,” Maria said of their 10-acre property overlooking Harris Creek in Talbot County. “I never had a chance to build our own house and make our own garden.”
“It was just amazing to be able to start from scratch,” she added.
With the home built to their specific specifications, the couple then turned attention to the landscape.
In creating the design, Maria, a landscape architect educated at the University of Chilé, took into account the property’s penchant for harsh shoreline winds as well as the aesthetic approaching the home and the view from inside.
“Jack and I stood in every window of the house and picked the position of the plants,” Maria said. Dividing the area around the home into “rooms,” she said one of her goals was to balance large parts of open space on the property with concentrated areas of work.
Framing the entrance to the home are October Glory red maples, Nelly Stevens holly trees and Cryptomerias, placed to create natural windows to the remaining crop fields and beyond.
Along the property’s water’s edge, Virginia cedars that were saplings when the Fischers arrived were kept and now command a shoreline presence.
“To me, they’re like sentinels that look out onto the water,” Maria said.
At the entrance to the home itself, a blend of flowering bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees bring an ever-changing color palette with blooms throughout the year.
Maria said the evergreens and deciduous plants provide the space’s structure and “hold the garden together in winter months.”
A row of inkberry frames a swimming pool on the side of the home and beds of miscanthus, calamagrostis and zebra grass offer some privacy and wind protection.
Against the house, multiple hydrangeas provide the foundation with a substantial Joseph Banks yellow climbing rose scaling a trellis.
Along the home’s waterside, only the guarding cedar trees enter the open views of the creek.
Grass buffers are mowed occasionally to keep their height in check.
On the home, wysterias climb the deck’s pillars with Korean boxwoods and Judii viburnum framing the deck steps.
Working around to the property’s west side, fig and Japanese persimmon trees introduce the Fischer’s kitchen garden, a large fenced area of raised beds growing vegetables, trellised berries bushes, fruit trees and a row each of zinnias and irises.
“It’s just an amazing place, you can’t beat it,” Maria said. “It was a gift to be able to design this.”