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Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 | 2 comments

Del Ray Café’s Green Landscape

Del Ray Café’s Green Landscape

During the development of Del Ray Café just over a year ago, the owners, Margaret and Laurent Janowsky, set a goal to make the restaurant as eco-friendly as possible. They adhered to green building standards during construction and were determined to operate the organic restaurant under the guidance of a zero-waste philosophy.

Now that the café has been open for over a year now, Leslie and I wanted to check back with Margaret to learn more about other green aspects, specifically, the landscaping and interior design.


But first, as a reminder of how far they have come, here’s the café when we wrote about it before construction began, as a 1925 farmhouse in pretty much its original condition.


And here it is again, in the homestretch of renovations in April 2012.


Now the front yard is lush with a mix of native plants, salvaged plants, such as the crepe myrtle, and various herbs they use in the restaurant.



Even the step-able thyme is lovely to see.


Walking up, you can’t help but notice the vintage red soda trough used as a planter.



Take a careful look and you will find some strawberries hiding around the corner, a juicy snack for a weary traveler.


As with many of the repurposed antiques inside the café, the soda trough was found at a yard sale in the western part of Virginia.

This outdoor sunflower decoration, however, isn’t an antique, but it was locally sourced at a recent Art on the Avenue.


Along the front picket fence, clematis weaves its vivid purple blooms around the white slats.


More flowering vines, confederate star jasmine, adorn the side fence which leads to the back parking lot.


Laurent caught the DIY bug by crafting a weight system with string and a rock that wraps around the fence post to keep the vines growing toward the sky.


The two salvaged whiskey barrels you see on either side of the front of the building serve as rain barrels — there is a total of five on the property. Margaret wanted something durable and aesthetically pleasing to fit in with the style of the house. These fit the bill perfectly.



Margaret and Laurent are committed to supporting local businesses. For example, they used local companies to design and build the new café and now use local services to maintain the yard, handle their recycling and composting and source their produce.

We love Margaret and Laurent’s progress, their dedication to green living and commitment to the local community. Stay tuned for a tour of the inside of the café — find out what is old, what is new and what has been upcycled from old materials. Who knows, you may find some design ideas for your own home, I know I have.


  1. A shout out to Catherine Bolton who has designed & helped maintain the plantings. I was so impressed with her work at Del Ray & Restaurant Eve that I had her redo the plantings in front of La Cuisine and our two adopted tree wells.

    • Yes, she did a great job! It looks very natural and elegant.

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