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June 2007 Issue

Chip’s World
In Greensboro, North Carolina, Chip Callaway, ASLA, blurs live, work, and play, and veryone benefits.

By Susan Hines

Chip.s World Roger Foley, Affiliate ASLA

Landscape architect Chip Callaway’s garden is a sweet little world just off the downtown streets of Greensboro, North Carolina. There, two modest but lovingly restored craftsman-style bungalows serve as side-by-side home and office. What were once individual backyards are now a single garden space linked by a pea gravel parking area. The landscape architect’s commute consists of a crunchy walk from home to office across this plant-lined lot. When set with small tables, that area serves as a party pavilion. Callaway hosts about 10 fund-raising events each year for the numerous nonprofit causes he supports.

Founded in 1980, Callaway Associates is nationally known for historic design and landscape restoration including Richmond Hill Inn (circa 1890) in Asheville, North Carolina; The Roper House (circa 1840) in Charleston, South Carolina; Alexander Graham Bell House (circa 1860) in Washington, D.C.; and Ayr Mount Plantation (circa 1815) in Hillsborough, North Carolina. However, Callaway also does a thriving residential business in his own city. Some of Greensboro’s older residential neighborhoods, especially the “park neighborhoods” developed in the early 20th century, are a living portfolio of Callaway’s work. Over the past two decades, he has designed 30 or 40 gardens in Greensboro’s Irving Park neighborhood alone.

Although most are traditional residential gardens, taking their cue from the conservative architecture of these established residential neighborhoods, one of Callaway’s favorite Greensboro gardens was designed for a client whose 1950s modern home was built by her architect father. This house is preserved by the family, which uses the equally modern Callaway-designed garden to showcase a contemporary art collection that sometimes startles the neighbors.

Callaway’s own neighborhood, Fisher Park, was among Greensboro’s first downtown neighborhoods to revitalize. “Sometimes it takes a leap of faith by a few people to get things going,” says Callaway, who purchased his “house” house in 1990 and his “office” house three years later. “The neighborhood is very politically active now. It’s been delightful to watch it happen.”

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