Landscape Architecture

I Want My House to Blend Into the Landscape

One of the things that has been on my mind lately as I look at landscaping solutions for the new house, is how to blend our landscaping solution so it works seamlessly with the field to the south and the natural tree lines to the south and west. Today while I was doing some research I cam across this example for a home in Idaho that does a great job of blending the site to the surrounding land.

This example shows how the two harmoniously blend into a coherent shape that adjusts itself to the surrounding wilderness. The photos below show work done by Lutsko Associates, winner of the ASLA 2008 Residential Design Honor Award for the  Ketchum Residence located in Wood River Valley, Ketchum, Idaho.

The residence is placed on a suburban road, but opens up beautiful, natural fields covered with wild grasses and indigenous trees. Most landscaping projects see the landscape as being part of a distant view seen from inside the house. Lutsko  takes a different approach with The Ketchum Residence and inserts the natural habitat into the built space. They achieve this by letting native plants and wildflowers grow in between the stepping-stones, up until close to the walls.

The weather in the area offers appropriate conditions for this project due to a desert climate. Summer sun exposure is moderate and although winter conditions can be harsh, the climate is temperate enough to generate a complex flora, cleverly linked to the design. The residence further integrates into the local ecosystem by using pavilions and terraces. In addition it has both a walkway bounded with steel edges and a driveway, for efficient communication with the neighborhood. The indoors and outdoors are linked with paths fit for casual strolls.

The architects opted for the regional color palette both in the materials they have chosen, and also in the selection of plants for the near vicinity. This has the advantage of easy maintenance, reducing the need for exterior upkeep resources. Case in point: stone finishing for the terraces and natural rusted steel to offer appearance similar to the surrounding nature.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Photo credit: Marion Brenner Photography and Ron Lutsko, Jr.

Landscape Planning Starts Now

With another 2 months of winter left this season I am getting to that point where I can’t wait for spring to arrive. The cold is getting to me and I am really looking forward to landscaping the yard in a few months. Since the house was completed almost 3 years ago, no landscaping of the property has ever been done.

The first owners of the home wanted to leave the lot as it was when the house was finished, and to an extent I can see that. At the same time though, I really feel that the entire home would look better if the lot were landscaped, and designed with the help of a landscape architect. While there are some things I can do myself, I am by no means a landscaping genius and I guarantee I am going to enlist the help of a professional with this. I always say know your limitations, and don’t be afraid to hire someone who knows what they are doing to help you.

My lot is 77 feet wide by 297 feet deep, just under 23,000 square feet, just under 3/4 of an acre. The lot is long and narrow dropping from a level plain 9 feet to a tree line at the back of the lot. The long narrow lot has a few challenges, but with a little care and planning should turn out great. I really want to landscape a space behind the home that functions as a retreat where I can sit and enjoy the surrounding space, since directly to the South of my property is a tree-lined 3 acre tract of land that drops into a long deep ravine.

So today I began looking for inspiration for my lawn, and I stumbled on great modern landscaping by Thuilot Associates. Hopefully I’ll be able to end up with something that is somewhat close to this level of landscaping when it is all said and done.