It’s falling, the site that is!
The best designs and the most fun projects can also be the most challenging! My newest landscape design project is a site on a beautiful lake. My challenge is to design a series of tiered outdoor living spaces transitioning a grade from 177.01 to 228.62. In other words, a little more than 50′ of vertical drop. The site is falling, and in a big way, from the house toward the waters edge.
The site structure and “bones” are already beautiful, sitting on a large natural pond containing mature deciduous trees. It also has a beautiful man-made pond that is three level with an arching wooden bridge. There are existing concrete and stone patios and walks that have been on-site for about twenty years. They were not designed or installed well initially which has resulted in cracking and breaking up throughout. There are random stone stairs on steep grades. All of the stairs are uneven, and consistently inconsistent, creating unstable footing. I can personally attest to the hazards of unsafe, loosey-goosey outdoor stairs. I had a nasty fall a couple of years ago chasing after my dog on some similar steps.
The primary areas I’ll be working with include a drop of almost 20 vertical feet. If these dimensional conditions were translated to interior design and evaluated with building code requirements, the resulting stair design would include twenty seven steps, an intermediate landing, 36″ high handrails on both sides of the stair with horizontal extensions top and bottom, risers (stair height) of not more than 7″, and treads (horizontal surface.) I could go on and on about stair design criteria as it is very detailed. But luckily, as this is an outdoor environment, the requirements are not near of stringent.
My scope of work includes new designs for patios on three levels, connecting paths, stairways and stonework, a new firepit, seating layouts, new and relocated plantings layouts, and landscape lighting. Let the designing begin!
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