Rogers Award Winner
The project started as a total renovation of not only the house but the entire site. The house was stripped down to the existing foundation and expanded for the active family. They needed an area for soccer practice, swimming, and a sizable area for their dogs to exercise. Given the large scale of the new house and the activities, the homeowners wanted the appearance of a modern farmhouse with a landscape to harmonize its appearance with the surrounding forest preserve. They also enjoyed gardening, so detailed perennial designs had to be integrated in key locations. A natural spring created a wet area in the back of the site which would require a creative drainage solution.
The pool location and fire pit orientation were set close to the terraces, so multiple hardscape concepts were created that addressed activity spaces and grade transitions. Once agreed upon the process of softening and harmonizing the site by creating a plant palate could begin. The landscape design found the right balance of creating a pastoral planting plan with a formal hardscape arrangement of the pool and circular driveway. The natural spring was captured into a small pond which utilized a small waterfall to help circulate the water.
Most of the hardscape materials were designed with natural stone to reflect the rural appearance of the house. A gravel driveway accented with paver banding and curbing enhanced the pastoral entry into the site. In the backyard, full range bluestone was used for the upper entertainment spaces while the lower pool deck was finished concrete that was easy on bare feet. To keep the area free of clumsy looking channel drains, the concrete expansion joints were widened to provide drainage to perforated pipes that connected to the nearby pond. Casual perennial gardens were designed near social areas like the front porch and rear firepit while taller wildflowers were used to create privacy barriers along the front road. All this blended into a wonderful collaboration of formal hardscapes and graceful planting gardens that blended perfectly with the grand, yet casual appearance of the architecture.