One family forges a private garden sanctuary.

Hydrangea bushes and little stone benches, a towering she shed and black iron fences, fairytale gardens and the fondness they bring, these are a few simply wonderful things.

Tucked away behind Cristine and Eric West’s home, a magnificent summer garden lies just beyond a repurposed set of Tuscan-style doors. After more than 30 years of living in their home, the Wests began devoting years into turning their double-lot grass lawn into a luscious garden. Luckily, the start of their transformation came just in time for their son Bo’s engagement. Looking forward to times of bringing family and friends together, the Wests had a large paved patio and outdoor fireplace installed for Bo’s 60-person rehearsal dinner.

“I love that feeling of wondering what’s behind the door.”

Cristine West

Years later, Cristine and Eric saw an antique door with an intricate stained glass transom window while driving on Manchester Road inSt. Louis. From there, Cristine had a stone wall and two pillars put up to frame the door, and the transformation of their private sanctuary began.

“I love that feeling of wondering what’s behind the door,” says Cristine.

By 2016, Cristine wanted to install a she shed, and with the help of her son, the two built and designed the shed with secondhand windows from Quaker Windows. Not only did she save money by repurposing, but the mixed-matched selection allowed her to design each side of the shed with different windows along with three antique doors that came from an old family house in Steelville.

“We’re coming into my favorite time of year now of having my entire family here.”

Cristine West

With their fairytale garden nearly complete, the Wests had the pleasure of showing off their garden last year as one of five houses chosen for The Bittersweet Garden Club’s 21st Annual Garden Tour. This summer, how-ever, the Wests are looking forward to hosting many summer days with friends and family — right in their backyard.

“We’re coming into my favorite time of year now of having my entire family here,” Cristine says. “Our favorite place to be is sitting at the little round table where we can overlook everything.