Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents I always request a detailed survey for each
project, but the challenges and complications
of this site made it imperative that I do so. I
needed accurate spot levels to provide critical
information on existing levels, so that I
could determine the height and position of
any proposed levels and retaining walls.
No matter how level a space appears, you
should organise a detailed survey. Whether
or not you are landscaping, a survey will
provide you with critical information on
easements, services, tree locations and aspects.
Once I had considered all the spot levels, I
developed a concept that effectively created
three functional terraces cut into the slope,
with another two retaining planters above
the lawn terrace to retain the soil levels at the
highest point in the south-western back corner.
Retaining walls on the western and
southern boundaries step dramatically,
indicating the extreme slope and enabling
level planting platforms for a Chinese juniper
screen on the southern and western boun-
daries. e neatly twisted form of this conifer
provides a well-behaved privacy screen, while
its texture and mid-green colour contrast
beautifully with the white-rendered walls.
ese retaining walls mimic the house walls
in colour and texture, and provide a much
needed connection with its architecture,
despite the complicated levels of the site.
Extending five metres from the back of
the house and flush with the living room is a
generous entertaining space paved with large,
square charcoal limestone pavers. In the
western half of this courtyard, a generous
timber banquette sits neatly against white-
rendered walls, catering for the clients' love
for entertaining outside. It was tempting to
create wide steps that would entice people
from the courtyard level to the garden
beyond, but I resisted because the owners
required a large eating area.
Instead we installed narrow steps, which
allowed for the creation of a retaining planter
box to wrap around the banquette; we mass
planted this box with some much needed
greenery to soften all the hard elements --
jade plant behind the banquette, to form a
glossy green buffer between the two levels,
and neat silver-leafed Kalanchoe pumila on
the western side of the banquette, to blend
with the white-rendered walls. ese
contrast with the textures and greens of the
Chinese juniper and the Crassula ovata.
e swimming pool is probably the most
significant element in the design. My chief
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