Dem Bones ... The Importance of Scale and Style in Hardscape Construction

I've yet to be involved in a project where the home and the landscape are designed at the same time (does that even happen anymore?). Generally, I'm given a completed plan view of a house perched on abstract topography. This is my opportunity to get the bones of the landscape right the first time around.

What do I mean by that? Most of our installation projects consist of improving existing landscapes. Often this involves adjusting the scale and style of the hardscape components of the landscape (things like patios and walkways), to compliment the scale and style of the home; details that should have been considered the first time around.

I'm astonished at the amount of effort and creativity in home design that promptly stops at the outside edge of the home, but you certainly won't find me complaining. Every undersized 4' x 8' patio paired with a 4000 sq. foot house is just another project in waiting.

Here's the plan I originally received for a job we're currently working on.

Deliciously blank.

Later the architect gave me an updated plan showing the driveway sweep and proposed entrance walkway (floating rectangles that somehow resolve the 5 foot elevation difference between the driveway and the front door).

This thumbnail sketch of my counter proposal for the entrance walkway reveals a less direct route to the front door. This is where I am trying to set the cadence and tone for the entire landscape, taking cues from the architecture and style of the home. (Read: creating the illusion that the home and landscape were actually designed in thoughtful tandem.)

Home construction delays put this project so far out that I'd nearly forgotten about it, but following a break in the cold weather, the entrance walkway was finally installed last month.

There's quite a bit of work yet to do (for example, covenant restrictions require all vertical surfaces to be natural stone, cultured stone or stucco), but it's gratifying to see a harmonious setting for this magnificent home finally begin to materialize.

Updates to follow (more hardscape and then here come the plants!) ...