Love your Landscaping: Get the Scoop Before Digging In
Most homeowners know curb appeal is important. After all that’s typically the first impression that makes you fall in love with a home. When we envision landscape architecture with our clients, we’re always focused on balancing that first impression with which outdoor elements appeal to them. We asked our landscape architect and resident green thumb Mitch Rewold to dish the dirt on all things outdoors, including three key components to consider when digging in to landscape architecture.
Careful landscape planning allows the home to be nestled into the site’s unique rock formation and embellished with similar materials throughout the space.
Just Picture It…
First thing’s first. Mitch recommends getting to know the layout of your site on an intimate level to discover which views are most important and which elements pique your interest. The goal is to enhance the view, not upset it. The structure of the home should be placed to frame the right views and perform well under sun exposure while attending to privacy needs.
For example, the homeowners of Perry Park Ranch selected their home site based on both the stunning views and a unique rock formation. Mitch gave the couple a view of the rock formation from their master bathroom window and used its natural color palette to inform the boulder wall material.
Overall the landscape planning concept should work 360 degrees around the house with the right plantings for the right location. Mitch states, “You don’t want a plant to mature and end up blocking a window or disrupting views.”
Your home’s landscape should be easy to navigate and sized correctly to accommodate outdoor lifestyle needs, such as a fire pit with seating and a bocce ball court as pictured in Boulder Ridge.
Sizing Outdoor Spaces
During the planning process, it’s important to correctly size all outdoor features from the beginning. Mitch recommends starting with the items you know you want and then working through optimal space requirements. For example, if a large family requests a level turf area for outdoor sports, we work through the size that makes the most sense and integrate how this type of outdoor living space will interact with the overall site.
Outdoor living spaces need to be functional, with easy access to utilities such as natural gas and electricity for popular features like a grill or bar. In Colorado the weather is constantly changing, making it even more important to prepare your outdoor living areas accordingly. In the warmer months, covered seating and airflow are vital to stay cool while fire pits, covered patios and heating systems are needed during winter time.
With views of aspens abound, the landscape architecture at Elkins Meadows saved as many mature trees as design pieces to surround the home and seamless blend into the natural environment.
Going All Natural
Many homeowners are amazed at how plants can be used to change and design spaces. When thinking of precisely which plants to place on site, Mitch starts with the materials that were already a part of the space and starts to bring the natural environment back closer to the home once construction is complete. For example, an Elkins Meadows home took advantage of nearby beautiful Aspen groves by using the mature trees as prominent design pieces surrounding the home.
Mitch also recommends avoiding strong, harsh lines by using transitions zones between the maintained landscape and natural environment. Native plants, seeds and trees keep the landscape looking consistent and there’s always room for more formal landscaping such as ornamental grasses and nursery stock, around the home and outdoor living areas,. Recently, Mitch has seen a mix of modern and contemporary landscape trends in materials such as using Mexican pebble stones for a clean look, large slab stone pieces as benches or retaining walls, and incorporating water features that blend in with the home.
Great landscape architecture creates something to enjoy, and brings unique spaces to life using breathtaking views, eye-catching land features and the site’s own natural elements. Read more about optimizing your outdoor living here.