Gregory Lombardi Design

GLDI Explores Newport

This June, Gregory Lombardi Design continued their annual Spring outing tradition with a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, where we toured some amazing spaces. While Newport offers an abundance of fun and educational landscapes, we narrowed our choices down to The Blue Garden and a private residence at 305 Bellevue Avenue.

With an early start, the GLDI team hopped on the tour bus with coffee and donuts in hand. The ride down was spent socializing, catching up on some project insights and discussing the upcoming events. Upon arrival, we made our way up to The Blue Garden. During the visit, we caught up with Sarah Vance, Director, and had the opportunity to discuss some of the finer details of the garden along with the plant list that is incorporated into the landscape. (Design tip: if you’re looking for the perfect blue annual that holds true blue throughout the season – check out evolvulus “Blue My Mind”. It’s extremely heat tolerant and low maintenance.)

The morning sky went from a light fog to sunny and bright, perfect for seeing how weather changes this garden. Pictures don’t do this garden full justice – the formal layout is exquisite and the colors pop so much more in person. The Blue Garden is private and only open by appointment on Thursdays and is a treasure worth seeing if you make the trip. If you just want to learn a little more, make sure to order the recently published book: The Blue Garden: Recapturing an Iconic Newport Landscape or contact Sarah Vance ( to see if you can get a tour!



Another highlight from the day was a visit to the Bellevue House and Gardens located at 304 Bellevue Avenue. Leading our tour was JP Couture, AIA, Principal of Couture Design Associates, who has been working on the property for a number of years. We strolled the private arboretum, taking in the details of the numerous follies throughout the estate. There are many blogs that go into the history behind these follies for those interested in learning about them. Instead we will just share some of our favorites spots below.



The Asian inspired water garden is tucked behind a massive Beech tree with a designated path that leads to the red arched footbridge. Overflowing with lily pads, the water garden creates a serene spot to rest after spending the day touring the follies.



“The Moss Garden” was a favorite with just about everyone. This enormous and intricate Fernleaf Beech tree creates a storybook setting. With branches from the “mother” tree extending the perimeter and new trees forming to create a circular native shelter below the system’s canopy.