Best Professional Landscape

Project 1

Adam Woodruff & Associates

Girard, IL, USA

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 whole house renovation when they engaged me to design the landscape of their rural property. Their bi-level home is situated on a ridgeline 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 home to compliment the charming 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. Plants are artfully woven together to insure a diverse and visually dynamic display with good bloom succession and seasonal interest. The feeling is spontaneous and natural. Patinaed sculptures of bronze and brass are recent additions. Their graceful feminine forms enhance the grassy garden, providing year-round focal points and adding a touch of whimsy.

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Property was largely turf, a few trees and an existing pool surrounded by a poured concrete patio. The grade abruptly dropped off along the back of the house. An entire hillside had to be moved and soil repositioned to accommodate expansive new beds.

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

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

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Grasses form the foundation of the design, a matrix through which shrubs, perennials, natives and bulbs emerge. Plants are artfully woven together to insure a diverse and visually dynamic display with good bloom succession and seasonal interest.

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House is situated on a ridgeline with views of pasture, timber and a meandering creek. Clients requested design that would be sensitive to the borrowed landscape and not disrupt their views. I imagined a grand, stylized prairie enveloping the home.

Project 3

Arterra Landscape Architects

Tiburon, CA, USA

Painterly Approach

Design Statement: Panoramic bay views drew our client to this family home on a steep hillside bordering a sweeping grassland. During initial construction, the building foundation wall was 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 swale that winds down the slope, cutting the cross flow toward the house and created an opportunity for a romantic, meandering pathway to an informal sitting area on the way to the pool area. Photography by Michele Lee Willson.

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Along this 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.

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

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

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

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We’re happy the clients can now enjoy the view.

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

Project 10

Mary Barensfeld Architecture

Berkeley, CA, USA

Hilgard Garden

Design Statement: Hilgard Garden aims to provide the owners with an extended outdoor living space; a garden room. Due to the steeply sloping site, accessibility to an upper seating area requires navigating a considerable elevation change. To avoid taking up a large swathe of the smaller backyard square footage with a conventional stair, a ramping meandering path through aromatic groundcover and the outstretched limbs of sculptural Japanese maples was selected as a more experiential garden path. Sandwiched between the neighboring townhouses’ rear yards, the Berkeley, California site consists of a 23′ wide by 50′ plot of land with a 17′-0″ elevation change. The owners’ desire for both outdoor seating and entertaining area close to their house, in addition to an accessible seating area at the top of the site, drove the project program. The 400 sf lower patio area, located at the base of the site and 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 home, one’s eye is drawn through the existing glass living room doors and out to the garden’s water reflecting pool and 3 sculptural Japanese maples. At night, the back-lit triangular steel panels’ LED lights further draws your attention out and upwards towards the 60 sf upper terrace seating area and its views over the East Bay and San Francisco.

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Ipe decking and benches, a floating white granite patio, a reflecting pool, board-form concrete walls, and weathering steel combine with Japanese maples, aromatic lemon thyme, creeping jenny and Koi bamboo to form the garden’s material palette.

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

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The weathering steel screens on either side of the garden are for privacy.  The water jet cut patterns on the steel plates provide transparency while allowing the wind and green of the bamboo to filter into the space.

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The upper terrace, with views of San Francisco Bay.

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A ramping meander to an upper terrace.

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LED backlit Corten panels at dusk.