Step Inside the Secret Gardens of the Sunshine State
When lush ferns, palms, vines and flowering shrubs synchronize with modern patios and pools to create luxurious outdoor escapes
PONTE VEDRA BEACH
An elegant blue European estate complements the natural tones of the Atlantic Ocean at its back door. The front of the house is privacy-shielded by thick layers of palms and native plants and the façade of the home is adorned with tidy garden beds. Inside, opulent finishes in each of the five bedrooms and eight bathrooms make this 11,000-square-foot stunner a special place to live and entertain. Greet guests in a magnificent foyer complete with grand double-sided staircase, then cook in the gourmet kitchen while soaking up sun rays and beach views. The backyard landscaping and outdoor living spaces on the almost two-acre property are enchanting as well, most especially a tucked-away patio nook reminiscent of a Tuscan-style grotto. There are Old World tiered gardens fortified with charming stone walls and pebbled pathways. At 28 feet in elevation, the property is bolstered by a robust dune, with wild plantings and a long private boardwalk that stretches over 165 feet of sandy beach until it meets the water’s edge.
1193 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach
The dark wood floors and ceiling beams that accentuate the lavish yet family-friendly interiors of this six- bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom home add warmth and coziness to its 7,654 square feet of living space. Extravagant wish-list items on the inside include laundry rooms on both floors, a fully appointed in-law suite and an elevator. The outside amenities that decorate the two-thirds of an acre property are just as fabulous as the thoughtful interior spaces. For example, there are resort-quality, meticulously groomed walking paths wrapped in crisp green grass as well as an outdoor bar and fire pit that are screaming to be used for entertaining. After a long, hot day on the boat, dock it in the fully functional electric boathouse, rinse off in the shower, then take a plunge in the pool and spa. Absorb the glorious Lake Maitland scenery in the shade from the covered, columned patio or on the swings of the play set.
1731 Pinetree Road., Winter Park
Undoubtedly, this Spanish-style 7,258-square-foot home with 6.5 bathrooms, a four-bedroom main building and a two-bedroom guest house is gorgeous and well-appointed. The attention to detail on the interior is superior, with visual and architectural delights around every corner, such as custom ironwork and coffered ceilings. However, the undeniable allure of this restored 1930s house is the half-acre bayfront property it rests on and the way the grounds have been artfully landscaped and designed. Touring the main house, there are ample opportunities to admire the pretty outdoor features, such as a screen-protected kitchen and dining space and a beckoning infinity pool and hot tub that are trimmed by a chorus of tropical plants that will deliver bursts of color year-round. There’s also a vine-laced pergola with columns and a brick pathway that add sophistication and romance, plus a sunny terrace enhanced by a water fountain and the picturesque Sarasota Bay.