Project Portfolio: Concrete ideas

June 11, 2012 -  By

Create a series of linked site enhancements, respecting the home’s modernist architecture.

“This project is a complete redesign of the entire 1.3-acre property to frame the 1950s architecture, provide dynamic usable exterior space, integrate a pool, and mitigate erosion stemming from a poor cut/fill balance when the home was originally constructed,” notes Scott Frampton, CFO and project estimator manager for Landscape Renovations, Afton, MN. “With the exception of the beautiful oak forest, not a piece of the property was left untouched.”

The landscape architect, Shane Coen of Minneapolis-based Coen + Partners, and the client worked together to develop materials and installation methods, discouraging cladding or masking of materials. The site is grounded by a circulation system of 12×24-in. white concrete pavers, with recycled glass and high fly-ash content. All paving is dry-laid in a stacked bond on a substantial aggregate base. Other surfacing materials include poured concrete (driveway), crushed aggregate (east garden) and Ipe wood decks with hidden fasteners.

“The client regularly challenged design ideas and questioned everything — from material selection and cost, to the spacing of plant material and cone ties for the concrete walls,” Frampton reports, noting that weekly meetings and discussions resulted in an award-winning space. “Other important collaborations were with the general contractor, the metal workers, the concrete team and the arborist for integrating the large white oak in the upper terrace. We are particularly grateful to Laura Chaney of Hanover Architectural Products for her work on this project.

“All structural interventions within the landscape relate directly to the architecture,” he adds. “Walls and paving extend from architecture transitions. These interventions create thresholds, plinths and boundaries that organize the site and showcase both plants and context.”

The Work

1 | Front lines. A bosque of whitespire birch marks the lawn; a mass planting of crimson pygmy barberry frames the walk to the front door. Trees were spaded, and the walk consists of dry-laid pavers.

2 | Modern comfort. The COR-TEN wall along the east edge provides privacy and acts as the perimeter fence. Note the effect of low-voltage night lighting on the pool terrace.

3 | Valley vista. The south-facing upper terrace takes advantage of the view toward the Mississippi River Valley. The terrace, constructed of white concrete pavers with recycled glass, is sited at the same elevation as the home.

4 | Practical beauty. Pool terrace, facing west: The narrow trench drain handles runoff between the pool and cast-in-place (CIP) wall.

5 | Opulent orchard. Beneath the Golden Raindrops crabapple trees is 3/8-in. crushed aggregate.

Based in Afton, MN, Landscape Renovations is a full-service design/build landscaping company, specializing in natural stone walls and patios, concrete paver driveways and patios, water features, and planting design. This particular project garnered a 41st Annual Environmental Improvement Grand Award from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

LM Staff

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