Landscape Architect & Specifier News

MAR 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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90 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Continued on page 92 Hidden in the temperate rainforests of Transylvania County, N.C., is a place of wonder and inspiration for all ages. Designed to be a play place that both sparks the imagination and tests physical fitness, this Secret Garden, designed and built by Lift Environmental Design of Durham, N.C., affords growth opportunities for every member of the family. The garden, part of a private residence in an exclusive mountain development, takes advantage of the mild, rainy slopes where the vigor of plant growth is as superlative as its beauty. The Secret Garden capitalizes on this natural windfall, using carefully styled botanical vignettes to draw visitors across gnarled log bridges to an assortment of custom play equipment constructed from locally sourced timber. The play equipment throughout the Secret Garden is built from black locust, an incredibly durable hardwood that ages in such a manner that it seems to have originated from the forest itself. Lift's primary purpose for the Secret Garden was to create a fantasy nature world that fosters a love affair with the environment and provides a range of physical challenges that match the changing needs of a growing family. One issue with ensuring use (and maintenance) of the garden is making it safe for young ones to roam the half- acre, steeply sloped site so that discoveries can be made at their own developmental pace. For very young children, this meant organizing play settings where caretakers could easily supervise from both inside the house and out. At the margins of these areas, Lift made connections to increasingly more challenging play environments that can be accessed as a child grows. The result is a built environment that becomes sequentially more challenging, affording new opportunities for play reward as a child develops. Each environment within the Secret Garden is also designed to be attractive to adults as well. For example, adults can take advantage of the treetop deck and moss-engulfed theater stage to entertain friends. The Secret Garden was designed to provide a whimsical feel. Entering through a leaf- shaped gate built from local hardwoods and steel, visitors Garden Landscape Architecture by Lift Environmental Design for All Ages A Secret A half-acre backyard park in Transylvania County, North Carolina, rooted in nature and fantasy, provides a place for children to develop and grow. Lift Environmental Design created the play area so that children can be supervised either from inside the residence or from seating areas within the forest park itself. Here, a leaf-shaped wooden gate with a mushroom handle leads to a playhouse with a moss-covered green roof.

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