French Sensibility

Our design/build team deployed a classic European palette to create memorable spaces that make the most of a stunning entry from the road, lakefront views, bluff and beach access, and intimate gathering spaces.

Good landscape design can bring a property together, but great landscape design can transport visitors to another place entirely. This stately home was reconstructed not too long ago, yet it appears to have stood for centuries. The immersive quality of the property is owed to the flawless unification of both architecture and landscape, a product of strong communication between the architect, interior designer, and landscape designer. Communication with the clients revealed a desire to incorporate plant life conducive to avian habitats, to match their birding hobby, and a love for stunning lake views. The perfect combination of architecture and landscape captures historic ambiance in a timeless embrace.

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A defining quality of the project is its dedication to established nature. More than a dozen 100-year-old oak trees scattered throughout the property, demanding extensive consideration during the area’s redesign. To ensure that root systems were protected, grade changes around these wonders were kept low, and where that was impossible, special airways were installed to ensure adequate oxygen levels. These decisions also necessitated subterranean drainage systems throughout the front and back lawns for optimal water movement.

Measures like this are what allows the landscape design to work with nature to produce both marvelous and enjoyable outdoor living spaces. Layered terraces transition the areas of different elevation, using the change to extend views in places where the clients can comfortably enjoy them. Upon reaching the bluff, a staircase leads guests to three different vantage points, equipped with their own comfortable mainstays, before finally granting access to the beach below. A multitude of gathering spaces welcome visitors to spend their time outdoors, such as a dining table, grill, and sectional couch.

All gathering spaces are surrounded by luscious gardens and connected by a series of walkways for leisurely strolls through roses, crabapples, redbuds, viburnum, and peonies. The color palette, dominated by pastel yellows, orange, indigo, and sharp pink, creates an uncanny resemblance to the French countryside.

The finished project is an awe-inspiring success, made possible by astute attention to detail. An antique cobble drive leads guests up and around a line of dark arborvitaes, where the majestic home emerges from behind a line of century-old oak trees. Fastidiously pruned parterre gardens add geometric interest up front, while a path of bluestone pavers directs attention around the side to the back patio, wherein opportunities for dining, unwinding, reclining, and admiring abound. Visitors can stay here for days without feeling a moment of boredom.

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