When the owner of the The Retreat at Mountain Brook needed a placeholder for future development he thought about things that would be an asset to the recently re-imagined 80 acre community and a benefit to current and future residents.

He landed on two things: a community garden and a play park for pets.

The community garden was to have a backdrop of a strategically placed picket fence to provide residents and pets a private area for exercise and play. The garden fronted a highly traveled residential road leading in to the upscale community of Mountain Brook, Alabama.

The Retreat team took advantage of the road frontage, planting seasonal flowers and vegetables in raised beds, allowing residents to “claim a plot” if so desired.

The picket fence was a natural for a mural. For this, Heller engaged the assistance of Mentone Alabama artist, Lydia Randolph. Randolph says, she is inspired by Gauguin’s violent use of color, Mary Cassatt’s delicate and precise renderings, and Eakins’ honesty. Her paintings reflect the colors she sees in nature and are priced from several hundred dollars to several thousand, with many in gracing the walls of patrons homes throughout Mountain Brook. So while, cute murals weren’t necessarily her thing, she thought the project would be fun and a way to engage the community.

“The community garden has been a big hit and the mural on the fence adds to the playful ambiance of the Retreat, said Lauren Turner, community manager. We continue to receive high marks from residents and people passing by—they just love it.”