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Post Falls Takes a Cue From Nature

By Tristin Brunn and Craig Andersen, Abbotswood Design Group Landscape Architecture Planning






High impact plantings are provided at all transitional public areas to maximize seasonal beauty. The driveway, because it was on a slope, was heated. It comes between terraced planters and created a threshold into the yard at the front door. The court yard gives a feeling of being protected and separate from the street.


This premier private residence along the scenic Spokane River in Idaho, is one of the many custom residential designs completed by Abbotswood Design Group.






Fiber-optic lighting was incorporated into the terrace step design as well as state-of-the-art zonal sound system.


The estate tastefully blends the personality of the owner, John Hemmingson, and marries it to the natural and historical site features indigenous to the Spokane River drainage. The Landscape Architect sought out an opportunity to create an outdoor environment that expressed the personality of the homeowner while being contextual to the surrounding landforms and the forces of nature that created them.






Decorative metal matches the handrails and backrails in the rear of the house. Spatially the entry serves as a threshold for the court yard drop off space at the front of the house. A path leads to the backyard with a pool and spa. The hardscape consists of stamped concrete with a slate seam. The stamp matches the rest of the site for concrete work. The idea is for the concrete to look like natural stone.


Plantings are contextual to the are with an emphasis on providing four-season enjoyment. High impact plantings are provided at all transitional public areas to maximize seasonal beauty. In addition to the above elements, the home features a 50-foot negative edge swimming pool, putting green, compass rose fire pit and sport court.






The gas fire pit has a compass rose for its paving. In the foreground some custom fake pine tree trunks function as pillars of a bridge that leads to the fire pit. Pavers consist of acid-stained custom rose.


Since the backyard was next to a river some of the design considerations for the landscape architect included shoreline stabilization, restoration, access, safety and aesthetics. Some of the challenges encountered in the project were dealing with multiple agency approvals, contractor coordination and access. For irrigation Abbotswood Design Group specified an automatic system with spray heads and drip irrigation.






The sport court features a full basketball court replete with two hoops and colored concrete pavers. In addition to basketball it serves as a badminton and tennis court. An abstract pattern serves to set up lines for basketball and tennis on a smaller scale, as the owner has small children. The multi-purpose court can also be use for entertaining by the upper barbecue patio.


"We focused particularly on the hardscape, paving materials, walls and coping," said Landscape Architect Craig Andersen. "There was lots of detailed work with very little room to move, contractors were on top of each other and we had to deal with a tight construction time frame."






The owner wanted the party spa seat 10 people comfortably and have the spa spill into a river over the waterfall. Due to some logistical challenges, the idea got turned around so now the spa sits next to a large rock with an underneath spring. The other side of the rock spills into the stream so the spa and waterfall are integrated together.


Andersen said he met with Hemmingson just about everyday for nine months. The owner wanted a landscape that was resort like with many different opportunities for recreation and entertaining.






The main waterfall for the pool was about 14 feet high. Home automation controls were utilized to allow control of music, lighting, waterfalls, fog misters and security systems.


Abbotswood Design Group devised a plan that took into consideration slopes and erosion control? "We created a geologic story that was contextual to the area and gave reason to how the forms could have been created naturally and then detailed them out based on the owner's vision," said Andersen.






Abbotswood Design Group Landscape Architect Craig Andersen said the grotto was the neatest part of the project. All the pool controls are contained in a separate pump room, which lies inside the grotto. It also has a separate changing room for guests. The grotto goes through a cave entrance and curves around until you're at the back of the waterfall. With the opening you can sit directly under the waterfall. The grotto exists below the pool at the beach.


Services for this project included schematic conceptualization through bid documents and construction administration services. Landscape construction costs were approximately $800,000, making the estate a premier residence along the scenic Spokane River.






The riverside pool had to be raised above the flood stage of the river because of waterfall access at the top. Swimmers could jump into the pool, which needed to be 12 feet deep. The negative edge of the pool spills toward the river. When looking from the pool deck it appears as if the pool flows into the river. Fiber optic lighting throughout the pool deck and pool coping and steps down into the water. Built-in speakers were wired into the stereo. Low pathway lights run throughout the site. Fiber optic lighting on the step thread gives safety at night.


"In about a year start to finish our firm designed a private estate with the purpose of tastefully blending the personality of the owner to natural and historical site features indigenous to the Spokane River," said Andersen.






Cues from the natural surroundings were taken and incorporated into simulated Basalt cliffs, forming waterfalls, stone grottos and stream flows. Terraces appear to be formed from stacked basalt retaining walls and slate patios.


Contractors and Consultants:

Civil Engineering & Surveying: Adams & Clark, Inc.

Landscape Contractor: Timberland

Pool Contractor: DB Pools

Automation Contractor: Monaco Enterprises

Decorative Metalwork: Anderson Ironworks

Electrical Contractor: ACME Electric

Decorative Concrete, Water feature walls: Lakeland Company, Inc.



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June 17, 2019, 8:41 am PDT

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