How Landscape Design Impacts Architecture

Are you clear on how your landscape design impact architecture and vice-versa? Before I start a project with a client, we discuss their goals and lifestyle for how the house will function for them.


As part of the architectural design, I also consider the landscape design. How will people walk into the house? How will people exit the house? What will they look at from inside the house? How will they use outdoor spaces? All these questions are really important and part of the overall design as the moving pieces come together.

My clients are a young couple with two small children. Every time I am on site, I imagine how they will live as a young family and yearn to create for them spaces where they can relax and watch the kids play, explore and grow.

SUN: We started construction on this house in January and through the months of site visits as well as removed bull pine trees we can now see the light pattern and exposed live ledge. So, the landscape plan is formalized for the contractors to keep building.

THE FARMERS PORCH: Not only does this create incredible curb appeal, it will function as a wonderful place to hang out while the girls play in the driveway. The front pathway will remain in the same place and meander from the circular driveway and end at granite stairs to the porch. A set of stairs off the left side will lead to the garage and mudroom door from a paved landing (already existing). And another set of stairs will be off the left side that will lead to the back deck. If we didn’t give these stairs, they would end up jumping down since there will not be a railing so we might as well.

Probably my favorite part of the front porch is always the swing. I love THIS one from Serena & Lily and I image the girls spending hours swinging. The swing also begins to create a nice seating area. While framing this is our opportunity to triple up the ceiling joists for the swing. Best to think of it now instead of later when the beautiful fir ceiling is already installed.

The porch is 8’-0” deep and this is key to having it function as seating areas as well as a traffic flow structure. Anything narrower is awkward and frustrating.

BACK DECK: This is directly off the kitchen and we are increasing the size to create two good sized seating areas. In order to avoid having a railing and create function, a built-in bench by the bulkhead will function for dining seating and raised planting beds for herbs next to a seating area will correlate with wide stairs leading to grade. A small patio behind the bench will function for the grille and then a pathway to the outdoor shower.


Front Garden: Because there will not be a railing on the front porch, the plants and shrubs will act as a buffer. There will be a drip edge that will go out as far as the roof overhang + 6” then the plantings. In the front garden I have specified plants that will start blooming early spring into the fall from Azaela, Hydrangea, Lily, Cranesbill Geranium groundcover and Sedum Autumn Joy.

Side Garden: This is shady and will never really receive direct light. So ferns, hostas and azaelas will live here just to give it something of a buffer.

Back Garden: The back of the house is now receiving a good amount of light. But it also has a tall façade with the roof pitched down for snow and rain runoff. After the drip-edge the garden will be a series of Miscanthis Grasses at varying heights. They will be cut down in the winter and can handle the abuse of water and snow but also create a nice green buffer between grade and house.

Rock Garden: With the removal of tall bull pines (these are huge, old pine trees 50’ + that have a shallow root system and threaten the safety of your home) we can now see beautiful, exposed Maine live ledge (or granite). We will plant a garden in there that has classic Maine plants like lupin and blueberry.

All the thought into the function of how this family will spend their time indoors and outdoors impacts the architecture and construction process. Havenhill Builders are exceptional at thoughtful planning and working collaboratively to bring their clients a custom home to meet their needs. We have met twice on site to review the plan to keep the crew moving and will meet again with the landscaper in the late summer to create a full plant list and spray paint the outline of the gardens. But in the meanwhile, they can build stairs, deck, porch, outdoor shower and even hard pipe for the grille now that we have everything planned. And planning is KEY!




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