Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Landscape Architect Visit: Postcard Views in Texas Hill Country, by Studio Outside

Search

Landscape Architect Visit: Postcard Views in Texas Hill Country, by Studio Outside

September 23, 2020

The Scenario: On a Texas mesa with panoramic views, native vegetation and mature trees, the daughter of an oilman wanted a family compound to remind her of the hill country summers of her childhood. “I want my kids to get dirty and be around animals, snakes, and spiders, the way I did with my sisters,” says Manhattan-based interiors designer Sara Story.

The Challenge: To site the buildings–including a main house, guest house, swimming pool, pool pavilion, and tennis court and pavilion–on a 400-acre central Texas property in a way that preserves the native eco-system and takes advantage of views without disturbing mature live oak and juniper trees or habitats of wildlife (including wild pigs and turkeys and white-tailed deer).

The Solution: At the end of a half-mile-long driveway, a ranch house sits on the tabletop surrounded by drought-tolerant prairie grasses and meadows of wildflowers (90 percent of the plants are natives). In collaboration with Story, Texas-based architects Lake|Flato worked with landscape architects Studio Outside to take advantage of the site’s best features–sunlight, breezes, and postcard-perfect views of distant mountains–to connect the new buildings with the landscape and larger surrounding property:

Photography by Arlen Kennedy and Robert Reck, courtesy of Studio Outside.

Native vegetation surrounds the family retreat.
Above: Native vegetation surrounds the family retreat.
Landscape architects Studio Outside sited the half-mile-long entrance road to take advantage of views, with curves and turns designed to create &#8\2\20;an immersive experience&#8\2\2\1; for visitors as they drive past the tennis and pool pavilions on their way to the main house.
Above: Landscape architects Studio Outside sited the half-mile-long entrance road to take advantage of views, with curves and turns designed to create “an immersive experience” for visitors as they drive past the tennis and pool pavilions on their way to the main house.
On the mesa&#8\2\17;s tabletop sits an L-shaped main house with rough Texas limestone walls, metal-framed windows, and black louvered jalousies.
Above: On the mesa’s tabletop sits an L-shaped main house with rough Texas limestone walls, metal-framed windows, and black louvered jalousies.
Imposing Texas limestone walls screen the six-car parking court from view from the two-story house.
Above: Imposing Texas limestone walls screen the six-car parking court from view from the two-story house.
Walls of windows frame views of mature trees.
Above: Walls of windows frame views of mature trees.
A patio of sandblasted concrete connects the children&#8\2\17;s wing to the rest of the house. Paths and patios of black gravel visually tie together distant sections of the property.
Above: A patio of sandblasted concrete connects the children’s wing to the rest of the house. Paths and patios of black gravel visually tie together distant sections of the property.
Eco-friendly rain chains, an alternative to traditional downspouts, add visual interest to the view from a covered patio.
Above: Eco-friendly rain chains, an alternative to traditional downspouts, add visual interest to the view from a covered patio.
 Sectional seating by Gloster has a low profile to focus attention on the fire pit. A permeable black gravel patio surrounds the pit.
Above: Sectional seating by Gloster has a low profile to focus attention on the fire pit. A permeable black gravel patio surrounds the pit.
Species of opuntia cactus look like sculpture, planted in grassy strips of spiky bluestem near the main house.
Above: Species of opuntia cactus look like sculpture, planted in grassy strips of spiky bluestem near the main house.

Born in Japan, Story grew up in Singapore and Houston and studied interior architecture at San Francisco’s Academy of Art before moving to Manhattan and working for designer Victoria Hagan. In 2003 she launched her own company, Sara Story Design.

Each building in the compound is designed as a separate destination.
Above: Each building in the compound is designed as a separate destination.
The pool house is inspired by the design of the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe; at poolside are a pair of B & B Italia chaises.
Above: The pool house is inspired by the design of the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe; at poolside are a pair of B & B Italia chaises.

For more of our favorite Texas landscapes, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0