Landscape Architect & Specifier News

NOV 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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November 2017 57 This Rocky Mountain home is in ski country, Steamboat Springs, Colorado (pop. 12,088), which lies in the northwest part of the state. The home's colorful landscape is adjacent to Fish Creek, whose high alpine waters flow down Fish Creek Canyon to spill over 280 foot falls, one of the most popular destinations in Steamboat. The intent of the landscape design was to capture the essence of the Rockies for the year-round enjoyment of the Texas-based owner and his family. Highlights of this idyllic environment include a recirculating stream, numerous sculptural pedestals, nine colorfully planted iron planters, a stainless steel spa, three fire elements, a secret garden and a variety of hardscape treatments that incorporate a snow melt to afford easier wintertime use. The sophisticated lighting system and fire elements are controlled via smart technology that the owner can operate remotely from as far away as his primary residence in Houston. The home is set within an alpine landscape of large specimen spruce, pine and aspens, with wild mountain rose dominating the understory canopy. Maintaining this environment and adding interest and color was an early challenge. The solution was a plant list with a wide variety of resilient perennials. Year-round color was a high priority for the owner. Spring, summer and fall are a riot of color and the existing wild rose adds interest during the winter. The thematic landscape is divided into six garden zones that include a sunrise garden, a sunken garden, an alpine garden and a tranquil secret garden entered through a twig arbor upon paving stones etched with the names of the owner's grandkids. Seating is of the natural kind: hand picked granite boulders placed by the landscape architect and the owner. A recirculating stream brings sound and tranquility to the entry and secret garden. The stream is directed through a biofilter at the top of the pool where specifically designated wetland plants naturally clean the water to a high degree of clarity. Sculpture plays an important role in the design. Sited sculpture pedestals and floodlights were placed throughout the landscape for future art installations. The signature sculpture is a life-sized bronze bugling elk at the newly installed circular drive. Equipped with an outdoor stainless steel spa, fire pit and fire bench, the backyard is the center of year-round outdoor activity. Roasting marshmallows for s'mores with the kids or just relaxing at the fire bench, listening to the creek and keeping an eye out for elk, bear, deer and fox after a day on the slopes have become favorite pastimes. The role of the landscape architect in this unique project was significant. The owner wanted a design collaboration; early design meetings often included the local property manager, "The owner's desire to have a landscape like no other allowed for custom features like stone slabs quarried in Oklahoma . . ." The owner's desire for custom elements included stone slabs quarried in Oklahoma used for the steps down to the hot tub and sunken garden. The colorful slabs, up to 8" thick, 4' wide and 8' feet long, were set in place by a crane. A local Steamboat Springs metal fabricator crafted a steel handrail resembling tree branches to add to the custom look of the landscape. Splendor Rocky Mountain Landscape Architecture by Stanley Consultants, Inc.

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