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Outdoor Spaces: A touch of England in Clarence

When Bev and Tony Tylenda decided they wanted to add a backyard structure for storage, they knew they didn’t want a standard shed.

So they decided to build an English-style cottage behind their Clarence home. That was four years ago. Today the 396-square-foot cottage, officially known as an accessory building, has a front porch and is surrounded by perennial beds and a formal garden of Knock Out roses, bordered by boxwood. The cottage and landscaping are illuminated at night.

Recently, delphiniums, catnip, daisies and astilbes were all in bloom and clematis had begun its climb on an arbor. Hostas, including miniature varieties, are found in a bed surrounding an old oak tree closer to the house and patio.

A chandelier hangs in a front window; a battery-operated candle appears in the small upper “eyebrow” window. The front door is painted Benjamin Moore’s Hot Lips – a color inspired by the hot pink Dianthus ‘Firewitch’ growing in the garden in front of it.

A cobalt-blue bench from Grandin Road is similar to the color of the 23-year-old cast aluminum outdoor dining set from Arthur’s Home Furnishings in Orchard Park that the couple recently had professionally repainted. It was originally black.

But Tony Tylenda is quick to point this out: “It’s like a Hollywood set.” The outside is charming, down to every last detail. The inside is a storage space, albeit a well designed and neatly arranged one.

Instead of wallpaper with trailing blooms and ticking-stripe upholstery one might expect to see once inside, the interior has shelves, cabinets and hooks for garden tools, seasonal items and other items.

The Tylendas, retired teachers who have two grown children and four young grandchildren, call it a “garden workshop.” It was built by David Rowe of DMR Contracting of East Aurora.

Their house in Clarence is built on bedrock so there is no basement. The garden workshop gives them the storage place they needed plus a focal point in the backyard.

“This is basically our storage,” said Tony Tylenda, who taught leadership classes at Lancaster High School.

(Their landscaped gardens will be open to visitors from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays in July, as part of the region’s Tours of Open Gardens event. Visit for information on obtaining a guide online or at a garden center.)

Other highlights:

• The large patio is the site of many summer meals. It has a table for six plus a matching chaise and side table. New aqua-and-blue paisley cushions from Wayfair and a soon-to-arrive aqua umbrella were chosen to go with the newly painted cobalt-blue cast-aluminum furniture.

The Unilock was installed 25 years ago. If it’s raining or the mosquitoes are biting, the Tylendas eat in the sun room, which was part of a 1982 addition done four years after they bought the house.

“It feels like we’re outdoors,” Tony Tylenda said of the sun room, which they open April through November – and also for their annual Christmas party.

• Bev Tylenda, who was a physical education teacher at Depew High School before she retired, joins other gardeners who like to spray-paint the dried blooms of their alliums “once they get funky looking,” as she put it. She chose a combination of purple, orange, yellow and pink paints.

• A set of triple doors on the garden workshop is the width of a garage door and can be opened; the building has housed their son’s camper in the past.

• An antique wine press that belonged to Tony Tylenda’s father, who made wine as a hobby, is displayed near the back of the house on the patio. It is planted with sweet potato vine and begonias.

• Chimes, bird feeders, two water features, a tree swing and landscape lighting all add to the ambience.

The Tylendas do all the gardening themselves except for the mulching.

“It’s our hobby,” they said.

* See last week's Open Spaces feature in Buffalo's Parkside neighborhood. The garden was on the Parkside Garden & Architecture Tour June 24.

Outdoor spaces: 'It's our Shangri-La'

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