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I am back from New York; it was a week of intense work coupled with mother-daughter(s) quality time. As far as the Hamptons project, I handed it off to be submitted for an assortment of building permits. The next step is to focus attention on the site plan, starting with the hardscape and then transitioning into the actual landscape.

The property is approximately a third of an acre. The site plan has to incorporate a few distinct areas: a motor court, entry garden, swimming pool and alfresco dining. But most importantly, I aim to create an impression of spaciousness, to exercise restraint and keep the landscape from feeling cluttered. I also would like to simplify maintenance.

As such, my task is to fit various pieces together seamlessly.

My goals are as follows:

  • Create a unified calming whole;
  • Harmonize the hardscape with the house;
  • Design landscape to have resting spots for relaxation and enjoyment;
  • Define destinations;
  • Keep the eye moving and at ease;
  • Delight the nose and tongue;
  • Bring in a sense of order and calm;
  • Build on and enhance the spirit of the place.

The new hardscape as well as landscape should be infused with an air of maturity and age.

I believe it’s very important to draw on elements from the surroundings, to respect the local environment not only in building materials but also in the choice of local plants. Diligently researching precedents, I stumbled upon a wonderful book by a landscape architect Jack deLashmet titled Hamptons Gardens. I learned a lot from it!

Jack deLashmet writes about a Japanese saying that a garden is not finished until nothing more can be removed. In that spirit, I opt for simplicity and starkness. Let’s see… what is it that has to stay?

The hardscape and landscape components of the site plan should be adaptable to ever-changing needs and play off of each other.

  • A Manicured lawn;
  • Pool as the heart of the garden;
  • Traditional detailing, formality;
  • Transitional spaces as structured walks or passages;
  • Walls of hedges as a way to define spaces/outdoor rooms.

Thus, as you can see in the site plan drawing below, I am attempting to define the grounds using simple shapes, gently manipulating terrain, and structuring with cobble stones. At this point, it’s a rough layout of the hardscape — the infrastructure of the landscape.

site plan. landscape, hardscape


  • February 13, 2019

    I like your tip about hardscaping according to definite destinations. That is particularly helpful considering you wouldn’t want to start a new project and not know where the project is going to end up. I’ll have to consider your tips so that all my projects are ordered and done right.

    • Alla DIY Ally
      February 18, 2019

      Thank you for your comment and insight, Bob!

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