Annie’s Site Problem – Part 2

John and Matthew offer up their solution to Annie’s site problem. View the renderings and plan below.



  • Steve

    I like the idea of raising the planting area around the deck to near floor-level.  That would make the space feel larger and also eliminate the need for a safety ‘bumper’ or rail.  The fine wood on the current deck could be reused for the fence or retaining wall.
    There are different theories about the ‘line’ in landscape design (eg. rectilinear, curvilinear, angular).  The recent trend, especially in heavily designed public spaces, has been rectilinear — even the plants are in tidy rows.  “Nature abhors a straight line” (William Kent, 1685-1748), but architects love them!  Thomas Rainer suggests this “rationaistic overlay” is being softened by a new Romanticism, a rebirth of the English naturalistic landscape garden.

    So, what kind of feeling or mood do Annie and Chris want for their new outdoor space?  Putting a ‘chill space’ (informal) in the front yard (formal) creates a challenge.  Here’s some help from the Colorado Master Gardener’s Water Wise program at CSU: 
    Another perspective:

  • Louis Pereira

    I really wish i had the time and opportunity to work on such a project. 

    Myself, i would have followed a very similar approach.  I especially liked the soft planting treatment and xeriscaping along the front of the terrace. The grouping of Siberian Larch at the right is an excellent choice for color and height to help balance the overall composition, which together with the horizontal elements is beautifully layered by the way.  Now imagine it with some night lighting!

    Landscape Architect Shane Coen once quoted that, “Mother Nature is too powerful to try and mimic”.  Personally I’m glad I didn’t see any ‘berming’ solutions or wavy decorative gardens.  For me that would be the equivalent of the dreaded corner fireplace that John and Matthew so often lament over.  This often rambling approach only works against and trivializes the architecture.

    “I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one”. ~ Luis Barragan

    I try to follow this philosophy to a “T” so to speak.  So I prefer to borrow cues from the design of the house by extending those geometries into the landscape.  I think it’s really important to maintain a rigorous framework for the sake of practicality, maintenance and manageability of the landscape.  You then have the ability or choice to ‘infill’ with plantings in the either the romantic style of Piet Oudolf or the unbending precision of Andrea Cochran.