Large Residential Case-Study (3)

The 2 renderings below are part of the continuing series. This is a series of post to bring you along through the process of doing a design for this residence. Beyond just showing the conceptual renderings, but how I see the potential space(s) in this landscape.

rendering of entry

[About the 4th attempt at an entry gate.]

The request given to me by the homeowner were to make a “presentable walkway” to the front door, and something that would keep up to the size and style of the house-nothing more.

With those kind of directions that basically leaves a designer pretty much on his own. Except for whatever hints of the homeowners taste we can pull from the initial interview, and from the site itself . . . in this case not much, not much at all.

The one hard fact I had to really work with was a wall(unknown type) coming down the driveway(right side of photo), I thought it would be great to tie into that wall.

Otherwise what do I have/know, to work with:

  • It’s a large house(footprint was around 4,200 sg. ft.) . . . so need to pay attention to scale.
  • Brick and a ‘stone’ product . . . can I pull from this or use in the landscape.
  • Large timbers were used in columns for front doors, overhead timbers, and detail work above garage doors . . . so if I build an arbor or wood fence should I pull from this element.
  • Existing big trees in the very large front yard (over 8 acres total) . . . how best do I make the front landscape part of that ‘forest’ of trees
  • Standard acceptance/expectation of large foundation plant material to help anchor the house/transition the house into the landscape . . . Traditional house, conservative clients, non-gardening clients, corporate executive type entertaining.
  • The non-gardening issue . . this has a particularly large gorilla affect on design, especially something this size, and especially something this size with so much opportunity to put in great garden spaces, and I do mean great.
  • Maintenance factor(s) who? how much? how often? what for? what company-installer? Again; to me, this is a big factor in how I will design something. I will hold back more because of this issue and the non-gardening issue . . . even moreso than the budget issue. Speaking of . . .
  • Budget-never brought up, never discussed, never hinted at-at all. My read on the client was this was not an issue at all if, IF . . . everything came to pass in the way he envisioned/hoped/dreamed it would be . . . it just better be right. That’s fine with me(no budget discussion), especially on something this big. I would now set the table for the client to understand I was coming back with a bunch of conceptual drawings for them to look at.

entry rendering in layout pencil

[Another attempt at the entry.]

The top rendering is more about a looser style, wrought iron, no heavy overhead arbor, and a(better?) view into the private garden/front door entry from the public driveway/garages.

The 2nd rendering borrows heavily from the architecture of the house, and lays out a different style of entry into the private gardens.

In our 1st meeting the client immediately grasped the significance of public vs. private and was excited about that part of the design philosophy. He was actually someone who totally embrace the idea, even asking several questions about this design principle.

Another thing he asked(in detail) about was the table, and umbrella showing in the drawing. He even asked if this was more about the show than actual usage, and I replied the best way I know how-my intent(truthfully) . . . was to create a scene, a vignette, a space that was appropriate to fit into the overall scheme.

I also remember saying that it was impossible to know how, when, and how often the table would be used. But one thing was for sure-if it wasn’t there . . . no one would ever sit out front. Remember this(discussion for later) because there is a lake and a pond behind the house.

Their original way of thinking was that no one would want to sit in the front.

What if the morning light is better, or the evening shadows, or less bugs, or different plantings, or dappled shade, etc.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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