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Elements in the Residential Landscape

While the four other residential projects featured in this issue focus on the entirety of a residential design, this feature is a collage of selected elements of seven residential projects submitted to LASN for feature consideration. In essence, we selected certain eye-catching elements of each residence to showcase. The elements include pools, waterfalls, entryways, outdoor living areas, hardscaping and, of course, landscaping.



Along the Shores of Lake Charlevoix, Michigan




This home on the shores of Lake Charlevoix in Michigan features a bluestone patio with a custom pool and spa (not in view). Michigan granite fieldstones make up the pillars and retaining walls. Bluestone stepping-stones wind their way to the flagpole.
Near the patio is a mass of Lavendula x intermedia 'Grosso'; and closer up under the native cedar tree the theme is continued with a mass of Lavendula 'Grosso' and Lavandula angustifolia 'Blue Cushion'. There are masses of aster novae-angliae in waves of lavender and purple colors in the forefront.





This is one of two driveway bridges with lanterns atop pillars that cross natural streams to reach the house. The light pillars are repeated at the entry walk. Precast concrete planks with wooded timbers were attached to the drive surface in a curved fashion. The driveway features a border of quarried Belgium granite (real stone) border, arrival apron and central planter with a large maple tree. Boxwood hedging runs along the top of a Michigan granite fieldstone retaining wall that was built to protect the wetlands below.





Michigan granite fieldstone retaining walls blend with the stone on the house itself. The origin for this stream starts as a pond on top of a bluff, behind the house, some 58 feet above. A series of waterfalls, streams and ponds winds down the bluff, under the driveway bridge and ends in another pond. Along the bank of the stream are Myosotis palustris, Juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Rug' and Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen).

Landscape Architecture by Maureen ParkerCommon Ground Landscapes Boyne City, Michigan.


Outdoor Living in Carmel Valley














Landscape Architecture by AAA Landscape Specialists, Inc., San Diego

After a previous renovation failed to meet the homeowner's expectations, San Diego, Calif.-based design/build firm AAA Landscape Specialists were called in to develop a Mediterranean-themed outdoor living area in this Carmel Valley area residence, with space for entertaining and family time.

Before construction began, the firm used VizTerra software to provide the client with 3D images of the project to compliment the construction plans.

An elevated seating area with an arbor and swing were installed at the far side of the yard in a previously unused area. This new outdoor room, which the clients affectionately named "the love nest," now highlights the best view on the property.

A cover was installed above the main patio area, which was framed by a custom water feature. Stone veneer and a new hearth were added to the old outdated fireplace to give it new life. The barbecue area was reconstructed, and a granite tile counter, sink, refrigerator side burners were added with a natural stone veneer. An outdoor heater and potted plants were included for warmth and ambiance. Travertine was installed for the flooring, and smooth stucco for the ceiling.

The flooring throughout the backyard was a mix of integral color concrete and Three Rivers flagstone. Large arbors with stucco columns provide a Mediterranean flair in the transitions between patios, and tie patios to the expansive lawn. The garden and planter areas are filled with boxwood hedges, roses and olive trees, framing the grass where the grandkids play.

The fire pit was built using CMU block construction with a firebrick interior, natural stone veneer and a Three Rivers flagstone cap. The large cap creates space to relax around the fire and have a place to eat or drink. The gas manifold was custom built with separate flow control valves, so the clients can keep the flames small or crank up the heat at will.

The swimming pool was given a gemstone finish and mosaic tiles that celebrate the birth of each grandchild.

Extensive lighting was used throughout the project. The spotlights are ''Unique'' 'Guardian'; the path lights are ''FX Luminaire'' 'Del Mare.' The Arbor lights are ''FX Luminaire'' 'LS' and the wall and BBQ lights are ''FX Luminaire'' 'CG'. All of the fixtures were upgraded with ''Brilliance'' LED bulbs.


Landscaped Gardens of Los Altos Hills


Landscape architecture by April Philips, RLA, FASLA,
Principal, April Philips Design Works, Inc., landscape architecture + sustainable planning + illustration





The spa decking is ipe, with a living wall backdrop. The extensive green wall palette includes Acorus ogon; Aeonium 'Black Beard'; Armeria maritime 'alba'; Asparagus densiflora 'Myers'; Bacopa white; Campanula portenschlagiana; Echeveria ('Black Prince' and 'Golden Glow'); Heuchera ('Chartreuse', 'Palace Purple' and 'Plum Puddding'); Ipomoea batatas ('Chartreuse' and 'Blackie'); Jack Spratt liriope 'Silver Sunroof'; Phormium; Sedum spurium ('John Creech' and 'Dragon's Blood') and Thyme vulgaris.


The spa decking is ipe, with a backdrop of a living wall. Landscape architect April Philips explains her green wall plant design is divided into three types to create the design pattern and to organize by sun exposure. Circle accents: Aeonium 'Black Beard' Echeveria 'Black Prince' and 'Golden Glow'; Textural field: Acorus ogon Phormium, Jack Spratt liriope 'Silver Sunroof', Asparagus densiflora 'Myers', Ipomoea batatas 'Chartreuse' and 'Blackie'. Flowering field: Armeria maritime 'alba', Bacopa white, Campanula portenschlagiana, Heuchera 'Chartreuse', 'Palace Purple' and 'Plum Puddding', Sedum spurium 'John Creech', and 'Dragon's Blood' Thymus vulgaris.







The goal of this Los Altos Hills (San Francisco South Bay area) project was to design a more harmonious materials palette (originally stamped white bomanite terraces and paths) to better complement the home's Tudor style and landscaped gardens. The terrace discreetly transitions between house and garden through the use of the horizontal and vertical materials that included ipe wood, weathered bronze, travertine, blue stone and interlocking pavers. A large, new 60-ft. long metal trellis with concrete columns is centered on a double-sided hearth on one end and a fire pit on the other. Between the trellis and the house, two bronze fountains create soothing sounds and provide a centerpiece to the smaller patio zones. The outdoor kitchen was customized with ipe siding and a curved stone top. The incorporation of a 30-foot long living wall in the spa terrace acts as a visual centerpiece to the rear patio, providing a dynamic living focal point that also includes a metal and stone waterfall element. Large olive jars punctuate the edge along the parking area that doubles as the patio extension for larger gatherings. The driveway and the circulation paths around the home are interlocking pavers. The furnishings and lighting were also part of the terrace renovation. The project was designed in the developmental stage via 3D SketchUp software.

Artists' Backyard


NC State Landscape Architecture Design/Build Studio













From 2011-2012, the NC State Landscape Architecture Design/Build Studio designed and constructed the first two phases of the Artists' Backyard, a stormwater retrofit project between the Turlington and Owen residence halls. Students employed numerous sustainable site strategies, including rain water collection via installing a 500-gallon cistern, rain gardens, permeable pavements, recycled, repurposed materials, urban arboriculture techniques, structural and amended soils and hydrozoned plantings. Highlights of the project included construction of a permeable brick pathway, reuse of flagstone salvaged from the demolition of the old Talley Student Center, air excavation techniques to protect and preserve four 100-year old Shumard oaks, installation of water infiltration wells to the native saprolite soil substrate, creation of interpretive signage and development of numerous stormwater conveyance features. Tables in the new patio are wired for power to encourage students to work outside in the mild North Carolina climate. Low seats with adjustable backs were located within adjacent garden areas so users can personalize their views. Finally, an unused staircase was transformed into a one-of-a-kind seating nook through the addition of benches and hand-welded steel planters. The planters were designed with green roof drainage technology, engineered planting media, and a bold planting composition to contrast the building's traditional architecture. Similarly, the overall planting design provides a woodland-like setting to juxtapose the site's strong orthogonal layout.


Mediterranean Style in Alexandria, Va.


Landscape Architecture by Botanical Decorators, Landscape Architecture Design-Build-Maintenance, Olney, MD
Project designer: Morgan Washburn and Christopher Cahill
Photos: Roger Foley





This client wanted a Mediterranean feel to the property. The landscape architect added a contemporary twist with an elliptical lawn terrace surrounded by a colorful perennial border. To make the project as sustainable as possible and meet the "best management practice" requirements for the county codes, a 2,500 gal. cistern was installed under the lawn to capture stormwater runoff and recirculate it for irrigation. The patios and pathways are constructed with Pennsylvania bluestone. The pool and wall coping stone were custom cut on site to follow the curves and then bullnosed. The pool has a Pebble Tec interior finish. The raised beam has a stucco finish for a Mediterranean look, and a custom sheer descent feature. Large caliper honey locust trees frame views to the pool and provide dappled shade for the space.





This cozy seating niche is off to the side of the elliptical lawn terrace. The clean lines of the poured concrete wall and its stucco finish frame the space and repeat the curve of the ellipse. A custom fireplace adds a modern flair to the space and is an inviting focal point. The bright foliage of the 'Tiger Eye' sumac at the edge of the planting bed adds drama to the landscape. Pennsylvania flagstone serves as the paving for the patio and walkway.

South Florida Model Home


Jeff Houghtaling, RLA, JBD Design Landscape Architecture, Lake Worth, Fla.





South Florida Homes wanted a warm, inviting approach to the model home in the Old Palm single-family home subdivision in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Landscape architect Jeff Houghtaling and installer Hasey Construction gave the model house a stunning look by combining herringbone and running bond patterns in a circle around a large focal planting of Phoenix reclinata. The natural red color blends of the pavers (Pine Hall Brick, Old Castle Coastal, West Palm Beach, the distributor) complemented the precast walls and the terra cotta roof overhead, tying together the exterior of this award-winning model home. The radial pattern expresses movement and accentuates the circular form. The Royal palms that line the circle also terminate the accent.





For the pool area of the model home there's a simple, restrained plant palette with 'Sea Isle' Paspallum lawn areas. The pool decking and stepping-stones are "Sunny Gold" tumbled travertine. The solid decking is an ashlar pattern. The The spa, which has a fa?ade of slate "wave" tile, was centered on the dining room window as a focal point and framed by two triple-trunk Adonidia merrillii (Christmas palms).Thumbergia grandiflora vines are espaliered on blank walls to soften the space as well.

Ranch Estate, Bosque County, Texas


Site Planning Site Development, Inc., Arlington, Texas









Improvement to this Texas hill country ranch estate included an infinity edge pool and spa positioned to take full advantage of the expansive view. The infinity edge drops water into a concealed return basin covered by a stainless steel grate. Native river rock was added over the top of the grate for a more natural surface. The pool deck, which matches the finished floor of the ranch house, was raised to make up for the lack of significant site grade changes.

Rain chains were installed to sidestep the need for a traditional metal downspout. Seasonal plantings grow in raised stone planters. Native limestone step pads were placed to frame panels in the concrete bedding areas and define transitions from the pool to the multiple auto court areas. Boulders were placed to help transition grading and erosion control.





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