A. Existing Conditions/Challenges:

Existing topography and new home construction on neighboring land directed overland drainage towards home, causing flooding and wet and unusable garden areas.

  • Protect existing natural woodland areas of White Oak, Hickory, Witchhazel and Ironwoods.
  • Integrate client’s desire for an enriched outdoor living environment that could be used year-round by family, friends and guests that complements the natural character of the site, which includes woodland areas, topographic grade change, and their recently restored historic home.
  • Features to include a water feature/pool found in nature for visual enjoyment as well as daily exercise and swimming laps, pool house, screened porch, interior and exterior kitchens, and dry, sunny areas for entertaining, sunning, relaxing and dining.

B. Design Process/Construction Solutions:

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  • Created a conservancy area to protect existing vegetation during construction, as well as developing a sensitively placed egress point to the project site that mitigates damage to the landscape and neighbors’ homes.
  • Developed and chose a team of consultants that included a landscape architect, architect, civil engineer, pool design consultant, and arborist in order to create a unified and cohesive vision, design and installation.
  • Identified and studied circulation between the existing home and proposed new features in order to develop clearly functionally and aesthetically pleasing connections.
  • Identified, studied and integrated a 15’ grade change within the proposed development and construction area, solving and installing drainage solutions to existing drainage concerns and new drainage challenges around the proposed pool house, water feature and outdoor entertaining areas in a positive and integrated design.
  • Newly-created sweeping and cascading slopes of trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers punctuated by natural stone outcroppings surround and frame the pool house, terraces and water feature.  Still pools and rushing streams were designed to sweep through and over the stone outcroppings creating sparkling and splashing waterfalls that spill into the swimming pool.
  • Planting palette focused on native plantings to integrate the newly-designed spaces with the surrounding conservancy areas.
  • Paths of native flagstone outcropping steps link the upper terraces surrounding the historic home with the lower sunny terraces that surround the pool and pool house.
  • Clearly articulated and designed views to and from the main home were created with careful placement of planting.  Seasonal perennials, shrubs and groundcovers that naturally sweep down and around the pool area, and a water feature create year-round seasonal interest.

C. Results:

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  • A unique and inviting garden area was seamlessly placed where an unwelcome grade change and drainage problem once existed.
  • An integrated garden composed of many diverse elements offers the client year-round enjoyment whether simply viewing the landscape from the house, or fully partaking in all the activities the garden offers, that include entertaining, cooking, dining, swimming, sunning or a casual stroll down the meandering stone paths.
  • Protection of the conservancy area, minimizing the impact the two-year construction project had on neighbors and the neighborhood.
  • Utilizing colors, textures and materials in the landscape and built architectural features that are carefully integrated physically and visually, creating harmony and a sense of place.
  • A comprehensive site plan and landscape plan that transformed a difficult site, along with developing a detailed project schedule and timeline that organized a difficult construction project with many elements and trades, finishing on schedule and budget.
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