Date: February 21, 2022 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
The owners of Porch View Home create a homestead where their passions for gardening, design, and time well spent can grow
Todd Smith and Charlie Groppetti may have generations past to thank for their love of rural life. “We both grew up with grandmothers who loved having a garden and growing flowers,” Charlie says. While he spent time with his grandmother in his native California’s Central Valley, Todd’s roots are here in central Arkansas, just outside Vilonia—a place the two of them could envision themselves once their son, Leland, joined the family.
“We loved our house in North Little Rock’s Park Hill, but Todd had always wanted chickens and I wanted more space for plants,” Charlie says. However, while these were draws, the driving catalyst was the neighbors, or, more specifically, the family. “It was important for us to be near Todd’s parents so they could spend time with Leland and we could have help after school or when we needed to travel for work,” Charlie says, noting Todd’s parents live just up the hill from them.
As the founders of Porch View Home, a home and lifestyle brand, they wanted the aesthetic of their property to reflect the products they create. “We are all about relaxed living, and our line is based on this; we love antiques, and we love time-worn pieces and a patina,” Charlie says. “When we set up our showrooms, we bring the country to the city. We come with branches of blooming peaches and apples. It really makes us stand out and helps us convey the farm-to-table look we love.”
To this end, the property’s plantings feature an abundance of Southern classics, including hydrangeas and magnolia. “Repeating them creates interest and brings so much texture to the garden, which is an aspect we love,” Charlie says. “My favorite time of year is when everything is green and white in the garden and the textures shine.”
He also notes the vistas seen throughout the grounds, which allow for peeks of the mountains. “There’s a lot of depth in the landscape so you can’t tell where our property ends and the natural landscape begins. This was very purposeful,” he says.
“We joke about being off the grid, but we do want to be self-sustainable,” Charlie says. There are the expected vegetables and herbs they grow and the eggs they gather from their chickens, but this sustainability includes cut flowers as well. “Whether we need to create an arrangement for a funeral, a bouquet for a bridal portrait, or just something to enjoy in our home, we want to be able to walk out and cut from the garden,” he says.
New House, Old Look
The home, which was built seven years ago, was designed to look as though it has been in place for decades. “We wanted it to look like an old farmhouse,” Charlie says. Its muted color transitions well to the surrounding environment, while a salt-finish driveway and large landscape rocks add to the better-over-time character. Beds filled with timeless plantings of magnolia, hydrangea, and boxwoods meander around the front exterior for a welcoming feel.
As you leave the front porch, the grass is dotted with slabs of stone that measure as large as 6 to 8 feet. “We didn’t want a tornado to blow them away,” Charlie says with a laugh. These lead to a circular planting he says feels almost like a “natural playhouse” in the middle of the property. “It’s a completely private, screened landscape border—you can’t even see the house when you are there.” He and Todd have set up a fire pit here and often cook beans or roast s’mores with Leland in the secluded setting.
Antique stags purchased years ago from Little Rock’s now-closed Marshall Clements are a meaningful addition to the garden that Charlie notes also “make the new house look more established.”
Peegee hydrangeas line both sides of the walk to offer soft, elegant blooms for a full month in the summer. “It looks like a wedding aisle in a church,” Charlie says of their captivating beauty.
“My favorite time of year is when everything is green and white in the garden.” —Charlie Groppetti
On the Right Path
Fence panels were repurposed as gates that lead from the front drive to the pool area. “We left them just as they were with the peeling paint and rust because we love that old, established feel they have,” Charlie says. Rather than traditional 3- or 4-foot-wide sidewalks, the designers opted for a 6-foot path that allows seasonal blooms to spill down the walkway without overtaking it.
The Gathering Place
One of the last additions to the home was a pool and outdoor lounge area. A natural stone surround connects it to the landscape, while a short wall separates the space from a vegetable garden. “We keep the pool uncovered year-round because the water and organic feel is so pretty to look out and see,” Charlie says.
Palms and sweet potato vines fill massive containers that mark the pool’s entrances. “I love magnolias and boxwoods—more formal plantings—but Todd loves palms so we put these by the pool, and I’ve come to like them here; they give an oasis feel,” Charlie says.
Inspired by his California roots, Charlie enjoys growing citrus fruits in containers that can move indoors when temperatures drop.