ISSUE 31  |  Patterns and Prints

Vote for the Best Professional Landscape Project in the Gardenista Considered Design Awards

August 05, 2014 6:30 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

Our judges have selected the finalists; now it’s up to you to choose the winners. Vote in each of the 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Gardenista and Remodelista. You can cast your vote once a day in each category, now through August 8.

For Best Professional Landscape Project, our five finalists are: Adam Woodruff & Associates, Arterra Landscape Architects, McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery, Terremoto, and Mary Barensfeld Architecture.

Project 1

Adam Woodruff & Associates | Girard, IL | Jones Road

Design Statement: I strive to connect my clients to nature and the larger landscape while creating a rich, evocative experience for them. Jones Road is one such example. My clients, a middle-aged couple with grown children, were in the midst of a house renovation when they engaged me to design the landscape of their rural property. Their bi-level home sits on a ridge with views of pasture, timber, and a meandering creek. They requested a design that would be sensitive to the borrowed landscape and not disrupt their views. I imagined a grand, stylized prairie enveloping the house to complement the pastoral setting.

The property was largely turf, with few trees and an existing pool surrounded by a poured-concrete patio. The grade abruptly dropped off along the back of the house. Consequently, an entire hillside had to be moved and soil repositioned to accommodate expansive new beds. The bold move improved aesthetics and overall functionality. The new garden seamlessly blends the wild and the domestic, bringing pollinators, birds, and wildlife to the doorstep. Grasses form the foundation of this naturalistic design, a matrix through which shrubs, perennials, natives, and bulbs emerge. The feeling is spontaneous and natural. 

Chosen by: Guest judge Flora Grubb, who says, “The garden at Jones Road doesn’t so much borrow the surrounding landscape as collect it. The plantings near the house evoke the spirit of the long view, but with an intensified palette that remains prairie-subtle and intoxicating.”

Above: The house is situated on a ridge with views of pasture, timber, and a meandering creek. The clients requested a design that would be sensitive to the borrowed landscape and not disrupt their views. I imagined a grand, stylized prairie enveloping the home.

Above: Plants are artfully woven together to ensure a diverse and visually dynamic display with good bloom succession and seasonal interest.

Above: An entire hillside had to be moved and soil repositioned to accommodate expansive new beds.

Above: Patinaed sculptures of bronze and brass are recent additions. Their graceful forms enhance the grassy garden, providing year-round focal points and adding a touch of whimsy.

Above: Regrading improved aesthetics and overall functionality. The new garden seamlessly blends the wild and the domestic, bringing pollinators, birds, and wildlife to the doorstep.


Project 2

Arterra Landscape Architects | Tiburon, CA | Painterly Approach

Design Statement: Panoramic bay views drew our client to this house on a steep hillside bordering a sweeping grassland. During initial construction, the building foundation wall had been improperly waterproofed and the cross slope was graded ineffectively, which resulted in extensive damage to the lower level of the house. Years later, when the damage was discovered, we were brought in to correct the drainage issue, protect the repaired foundation, and create a dynamic garden space for the family. We designed a sinuous grass swale that winds down the slope, cutting the cross-flow toward the house and creating the opportunity for a romantic, meandering pathway to an informal sitting area on the way to the pool.

Chosen by: Flora Grubb, who says, “This bold and colorful hillside garden composed of workhorse plants looks lush while being water-wise. Transcending its components, the space is both inviting and exciting.”

Above: The grass swale weaves through the masses of plantings and diverts water away from the house.

Above: The plantings are deer-resistant, which means that we didn’t have to cut off the rolling hills with a fence.

Above: Drought-tolerant, low-maintenance Mediterranean plants attract hummingbirds and bees, providing nectar and habitat.

Above: Along the path we nestled a cozy sitting area, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine and taking in the panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay.

Above: The warm-colored plant palette was a conscious choice to counter the cool breezes and saturate this hillside canvas with painterly sweeps of fiery color.

Above: We’re happy the clients can now enjoy their view.


Project 3

McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery | New Albany, OH | Woodland Estate Garden

Design Statement: This residence is nestled within a forest of mature trees. A master plan was created and implemented over the last five years and will continue to grow. The project includes a kitchen garden, woodland paths, restoration of native undergrowth, and planting large sweeps of perennials.

Chosen by: Gardenista Editor-in-Chief Michelle Slatalla: “This project celebrates old and new equally, gracefully marrying the tall trees with edible beds.”

Above: A vantage point leads through the woods to an artist studio.

Above: The kitchen garden includes boxes and stock tanks.

Above: A Corten garden structure leads from the driveway to the dining area.

Above: Planters surrounding the pool area.

Above: Woodland plantings.

Above: A perennial bed surrounding the pool.


Project 4

Terremoto | San Francisco, CA |  Post-Punk San Francisco Landscape

Design Statement: This Pacific Heights landscape is the manifestation of a desire to create a garden that is neither a facsimile nor a refutation of the horticultural vernacular of the Pacific Heights area, but rather, a distillation of its best architectural and botanical qualities.

Chosen by: Michelle Slatalla. “The versatility of poured concrete as a hardscaping material–and unifying theme–pulls this garden together.”

Above: Formed, poured-in-place concrete walls of a light color climb the hill, retaining the hillside and guiding the user’s ascent through the space. A densely planted row of Thuja plicatas provides privacy from the neighbors above.

Above: A mosh pit of English boxwood, Australian tree ferns, white roses, purple-flowering magnolias, and assorted vegetables both challenges and acknowledges the strong horticultural vernacular of the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Above: We threw a party, and it was a fantastic party.

Above: Horticulturally inspired cocktails and conversation.

Above: A Japanese cedar soaking tub wrapped in vegetation brings you to the second level of the project. Black trellises frame the property’s edges.

Above: Layering ornamentals (boxwoods) with edibles (artichokes and tomatoes) provides for interesting juxtapositions, both in texture and convention.


Project 5

Mary Barensfeld Architecture | Berkeley, CA | Hilgard Garden

Design Statement: Hilgard Garden aims to provide the owners with an extended outdoor living space; a garden room. Sandwiched between the neighboring townhouses’ rear yards, the site consists of a plot of land 23 feet wide by 50 feet deep, with a 17-foot elevation change. The owners’ desire for outdoor seating and an entertaining area close to the house, plus an accessible seating area at the top of the site, drove the project program. 

Due to the steep slope, reaching the upper seating area requires navigating a considerable elevation change. To avoid taking up a large swath of the smaller backyard square footage with a conventional stairway, a ramping meandering path through aromatic ground cover and the outstretched limbs of sculptural Japanese maples was selected.

The 400-square-foot lower patio area, located on the same level as the living room, provides the clients with a seamless extension of their living space for relaxation and entertaining. It aspires, in the classic modernist sense, to be the new living room of the townhouse. Upon entering the house, one’s eye is drawn through the glass living room doors and out to the garden’s reflecting pool and three sculptural Japanese maples. At night, the back-lit triangular steel panels’ LED lights further draw your attention towards the 60-square-foot upper terrace seating area and its views over the East Bay and San Francisco.

Chosen by: Flora Grubb. “The architecture side of landscape architecture in the Hilgard Garden makes the space. In the manner of earth art or the best public plazas, the multifaceted walls create places to perch, wander, admire views, and yet still soak up the pleasures of nurturing plants.”

Above: The weathering steel screens on either side of the garden are for privacy. 

Above: Hilgard Garden aims to provide the owners with an extended living space; a garden room.

Above: A ramping meander to an upper terrace.

Above: The water-jet-cut patterns on the steel plates provide transparency while allowing the wind and the green of the bamboo to filter into the space.

Above: The upper terrace, with views of San Francisco Bay.

Above: LED backlit Corten panels at dusk.

NOTE: There’s still time to vote for your favorite finalists in the Considered Design Awards. The polls close August 8th, but until then you can vote once a day in all the categories on Gardenista and Remodelista.