Thursday, April 30, 2009

On My Drawing Board

I thought I would post about some of the current design work that has passed over my drawing board this season. This job is just beginning the demo phase so I can show you pictures of the installation as it progresses. This is a smaller job with a conservative budget. Nothing super fancy here. The clients have a new son and would like to spend more time in a nice backyard.

As you can see the house is sort of a ranch style. The front is simple and fits the rest of the neighborhood. Hands off, Bill. The job is in back.

Here are a couple of general pictures of the yard.

The grass has been stressed and warn in places. There is a sprinkler system,but it obviously doesn't work well. The trees look like they aren't getting any water either. However, the Austrailian Bottle trees look fine. Here is a good argument for Hydo-zoning. The practice of seperating plants and trees by water need rather then by location. Imagine if all these trees were on one irrigation zone (they probably were). The water to the bottle trees would be wasted while you tried to keep the citrus happy.

The clients would like a complete redesign. Bulldoze it and start over. Good call!
While walking the yard the first things to look for when walking into a remodel are utilities lines. The most dangerous lines are the ones added by the homeowner or previous owner. Below is the existing and poorly designed irrigation system. Now we know why the citrus is sick and the lawn is dieing.

The next thing is drainage, where does the water go when the monsoon hits. This yard drains to the back fence. This could be an issue. Write it down and move to the next observation. Circulation and access; where do people come from and where do they go? What kind of equipment can we use here? The shed blocks the beautiful RV gate. We’ll need to move it. Next we look at view lines and privacy. Cactus Road is just behind the back fence so we could use some screening.

The husband tells me he envisions a Corona commercial for his back yard design theme. A hammock is mandatory. The wife would like more of a southern garden theme, the plantation style. The first thing I think of is the French Colonial influence in our southern states and the Bahamas. A French Plantation theme! But, before I get too excited, I need a budget reality check. Budget constraints on this job will keep us conservative and require us to phase this project into two or three installations. Access needs to be openned up on the west side. The east side needs to contain the dogs. A natural screen and sound baffle is needed accross the back. And we need to insert as much Southern Comfort as possible. Not the beverage, thank you.

Ok, I envisioned the stereotypical southern plantation driveway here. But without the drive. Large majestic trees (Chinese Elms) line and contain the lawn area where children can play. The little circles you may be able to make out under the trees are up-lights. This yard will be stunning at night. But that is phase two. The patio is extended for Mom and Dad to enjoy and a fountain tames some of the road noise. The small patio at the top of the page is a gazebo area with the little portable fire pit you may have noticed in one of the pictures above. It is difficult to see in this scanned image, but a white fence like you would see at a Caribbean plantation or resort separates the dog run to the east and the RV access to the west. The little square to the left is a grass patch the client requested for the dogs. To the right you can see I’ve really opened up the access for an RV, boat or whatever and I’ve moved the shed to the south west corner. I really like this simple design, but most importantly the clients loved it, too. They didn’t want to change a thing.
I’ll upload more in a day or two as the job progresses

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Spring Rush and Web 2.0

Wow, I've been pretty much over run with work. This is a good thing anytime, but especially this year. We all know why. However, it's been a month since I posted an article here and originally the goal was at least one post a week. Sorry I wasn't able to keep all my plates spinning.

A reality check is in order! Originally I wouldn't have considered posting anything here that I didn't design or build or at least photograph myself. But, this takes a lot of time to create an article from my own files and find or take pictures. Time that I don't always have. I guess I'll have to come down off my high horse a little.

This also limits the topics and discussions to things I've designed or built. Frankly, there are a lot of great topics and emerging ideas I have no direct experience with. Why limit this blog to me when there are so many talented Landscape Designers and Landscape Architects out there? Answer: I shouldn't. I have a website, Inspired Landscape Creations (right now being updated) where my company and my work can be showcased exclusively.

My Blog will be a platform for discussion and an exchange of information pertaining to residential landscaping. A way for me to pass on information to former clients and home owners to hopefully make designing, installing, and maintaining your gardens more enjoyable. Not to mention figuring out some of the technology, new and old. Sound good? I think so.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.