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Design with Landscape in Mind

One of my first jobs in the design industry was as an apprentice landscape architect (not a licensed architect, an apprentice).  While I always knew that I wanted to design homes, I have also always been keenly aware of the codependent relationship between the structure of the home and its natural surroundings.  When I design new homes or even remodel existing homes and make home additions, I always love the opportunity to enhance the design by using the landscape as well.  I think of the landscape and the actual house as a married couple; they are stuck together for better or worse.  When they are at odds with each other, the members of the household take sides and chaos ensues, but when they are on the same page, the harmony means peace for everyone in the home.

Here are just a few ways that your home design and landscape design can come together forming the perfect pair.


1) Bring materials from your landscape into the interiors of your home.
Repeat stone used to wrap columns outside on the fireplace inside your home.


In this image, you see stackstone on the fireplace, and through the french doors you can see the same stone wrapping the outdoor pergola’s columns.  Bringing this texture from the outside into the family room, helps to connect the rooms blurring the line between indoors and outdoors and creating a smooth, comfortable transition from built environment to natural environment.


2) Choose a landscaping style that fits your home.
Triplet Ranch Rear Perspective


A geometrical, contemporary landscape, like that shown above, highlights the tight geometry of a contemporary home.  In the same way, formal gardens with rows of clipped hedges complements the symmetry of the federalist style or many neoclassical designs.


Versailles Gatehouse


A romantic garden with roses and lavender will complete the transformative atmosphere of an English cottage or an old world European estate.  Before you hire a landscaping team to install the same plants and curved planting beds that all your neighbors on the street have, consider your home’s individual style, and ask your landscape designer or architect to show you pictures of something they recommend. While we at Studio Boise have no landscape architects or licensed architects we will be more than happy to work with one you choose.


3) Frame specific vignettes of nature with carefully placed windows and landscaping.
W-Remodel from Booth


If you have the luxury to design your dream home from scratch, ask you designer to consider the view out of every window.  One of my biggest pet peves is when a home’s largest windows look directly at the neighbor’s wall 10 feet away.  Whenever I design a new custom home, I insist that my clients purchase a lot before we start designing unless they are buying a substantial amount of acreage with no eyesores in sight.  I go to the lot and make notes about where the best views are, where great trees are located, and the angles from which the sun will hit the residence.  Where there is no view, I create one  by placing a tree in a fence niche outside a window, or with terraced retaining walls to be viewed beyond the living room windows.  Designers love to give their advice on landscaping and even fully design the hardscape for their clients’ homes.  As far as the specific flora selections, I love to assist a local landscape architect to create the perfect year around colors to enjoy from your windows and patios.


4) Create an experience that will draw you throughout your landscape.
W-Remodel from Upper Pergola


Not all outdoor structures need to be connected or even near your home.  If you have the space, create paths that disappear around a bend of foliage or over a slight hill that lead to an isolated pergola or firepit.  Surrounding yourself completely in nature, but having the comfort of shade and a nice lounge chair can be just the right medicine for a hectic day.


5) Design with all 5 of your scenses.
rear traditional gray and cedar shake


Landscape is a great way to delight all of your senses from inside and out.  Fragrant planters of lavender outside of an open window, the sound of a babbling brook as you enjoy a covered patio, the transition of textures under your sandals from tile to pavers and then to grass as you move outdoors, the colors that change outside your windows as the leaves turn orange in the fall, and even the taste of delicious fruits and vegetables can all be a part of your everyday life if you design your home with the landscape in mind.

20 foot wide front

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