June 2018 - August 2019
architecture: Dick Clark + Associates
general contractor: Mike Battiglia
select photography: Jake Holt
We were brought on during the pre-construction phase for this new residence in the Westlake in 2018. We were so excited when Dick Clark + Associates reached out to us to see if we wanted to join the project. The site was challenging, with an abundance of trees and a dramatic slope. The architects designed the low-slung home to be nestled into the hillside, which created a serious of courtyard spaces between the home and the site’s retaining walls. We were tasked in developing the entry sequence, solidifying final grades of key site elements, and developing the landscape and transition spaces between the home and the rugged site beyond.
The planting bed along the driveway creates a lush entry sequence through native ornamental trees, large shrubs, perennials, and low trailing plants with tiers of texture and color. The dense planting bed is delineated from the natural site by a steel edge and riverstone surface treatment.
Upon reaching the bottom of the driveway, a limestone boardwalk is revealed, guiding visitors to the front door. The path is organized in three terraces that gently negotiate the grade change from driveway to front door. The limestone planks are supported by a steel frame that elevates the path and allows rainwater to be collected and removed.
The entry courtyard planting strategy uses linear or gridded massings of a single drought-tolerant plant. This creates a contrast to the organic driveway planting strategy and the more natural spaces outside of the planting beds. The lighting design illuminates the path a visitor might take coming down the driveway and heading towards the front door, highlights more sculptural elements like strategically placed ornamental trees, and downlight spaces from the canopy of mature shade trees.
Moving beyond the entry space, the path is compressed to a door-width threshold between the Leuder retaining wall and the home’s matching façade, denoting a transition from public to private space. Just beyond, a courtyard opens up that provides a lush backdrop to the living room inside. The space showcases a large existing Live Oak tree as well as a water feature. A stacked tube wall retains the existing terrain at the end of the courtyard, and denotes a pathway on around the house to the natural footpaths going out into the rest of the site.