Call Jim Coile (Part 2)

Call Jim Coile (Part 2)

Last week, I described the landscaping work that Jim Coile did for Yvonne and me at our hillside home in Nashville. Ten years after that first purchase, our family had grown to three with the arrival of our daughter, Maggie, and we moved to a new home in a nearby neighborhood. 

The lot had plenty of trees, but the front yard was plain and the back yard was flat and featureless. Looking at the place, Yvonne and I had the same thought.

Call Jim Coile. 

By that time, Jim had left the Southern Baptists to set up his own landscape and design firm. When he arrived, grandfatherly as ever, we told him the same thing we had said the first time: we wanted our house to be welcoming, and we liked to entertain groups of friends. 

Jim nodded, happy for the challenge, and agreed to take the job. A few weeks later, he returned and showed us the plans: in front, a winding walkway lined by sculpted beds; in back, a broad patio bordered by low brick walls and accented by a wooden arbor. Once again, we said yes!

As Jim was leaving, Yvonne mentioned that our front entrance, even with the walkway, was still a bit plain. Jim eyed the front door. Then, much as Lincoln must have done on his way to Gettysburg, he pulled out a pencil and an old envelope. He did a quick sketch and handed it to us.

We showed it to our contractor, David Mahand, who was a carpenter. David took the sketch home for the weekend. On Monday morning, he arrived with Jim’s design carved out of wood.

“Like it?” he asked. We liked it.   

With just a few strokes, Jim Coile had created the simple, graceful entryway to our house that greets visitors to this day. 

Jim passed away a few years ago. By the time he died, he had achieved almost legendary status among Nashville landscape architects and the garden club.   

What stays with us is the grandfatherly smile, the beautifully rendered plans, and the wonderful spaces we share with our friends.


Blog: Music