Native Oasis

Working from a palette of native, indigenous species, our design-build team created a natural, suburban escape that feels a million miles away.

For this client, the greatest example of beauty was a reflection of a healthy naturescape. Their property’s lands had suffered as a consequence of unremitting neglect, with troves of invasive species leeching away the soil’s nutrients. To begin moving in a better direction, the clients wanted to create a natural, low maintenance landscape and an entirely LEED certified home. By keeping sustainability a high priority, we were able to help create a space for them to enjoy nature while entertaining family and friends.

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One of the first steps towards a healthy landscape is always proper water control.  Upon arrival, the team discovered that the existing site was flat and too easily flooded to support healthy growth. Remediation required enlisting the help of a civil engineer to institute a proper method of water management. Part of the solution was to regrade the site to be more conducive to movement, while the other half included strategic placement of a rain garden. This specialized addition was devised to allow for water to be properly directed by holding accumulations and slowly releasing them into the city’s storm system. This way, a cultivated flood zone overwhelms neither the city nor the property. The crown jewel to this area is a dynamic and elevated walkway constructed above the rain garden to give space to take in the saturated beauty of the water-loving landscape.

In keeping with the clients’ requests, a prairie was created to provide interest, attract wildlife, and add blankets of seasonal color. The value of a low-maintenance landscape is shown in the curated selection of native species on the property. As even the irrigation techniques were to be kept all-natural, these selections double in their ability to be drought tolerant (coneflower, crabapples, serviceberries, redbuds, bottlebrush, buckeye, and oakleaf). Ornamental grasses screen the property’s utilities from sight, while natural groupings of trees and shrubs near the driveway create a border for privacy.

Today the property is a pleasant ode to life on the prairie, nestled quietly away behind a breathtaking tree line. The palette of rich golden tones blended with autumnal reds and deeper greens gives onlookers an appetite for relaxation. Stone pavers line a path to a cozy patio near a warm fireplace, through the lush rain garden, and past lines of grasses that add playful wisps of movement on the afternoon breeze.

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