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Landenberg, Pennsylvania, United States
Based in Landenberg, PA PLG offers Landscape Installation and Maintenance to Southern Chester County and Northern Delaware

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Blog #1-The Entry Courtyard

In this series I will be discussing the thought process, materials, and hard work that went into our more recent projects.  I hope that this series will not only serve as an example of the quality of work and design, but how we work with the client to arrive at the final design.  This process, though stressful at times, is extremely rewarding for us (the designer/contractor) and the client/homeowner.  I hope you guys enjoy and we would love to hear your thoughts and commentary!

The Entry Courtyard

 I had the pleasure of designing a classic entry courtyard for a home in Chadd’s Ford.  The home is set back quite far off the road providing a large open green space for the front yard.  The current landscaping did not fit the grandeur and architecture of the home.  The home owner was looking for something a little more grand, gave room to lounge, and allowed for the use of the front yard as an area to throw the football or kick a soccer ball.

The obligatory 'before picture'

To accomplish this, I put together a design with the help and input of the clients, incorporating all of their needs, while reacting to the genus loci of the area and the architecture of the home. 

Final Rendering
As you can see from the plan, we worked with a rectilinear design language creating a walled courtyard that still allows for entry to and from the yard.  I chose the classic ‘range pattern’ flagstone to reinforce the rectilinear design and chose to match the face stone of the seat walls to the existing stone on the home.  The walk is edged with a classic double sailor course of 4”x8” bricks.   

Picture of the walkway illustrating the range pattern flagstone and double sailor course border

Picture illustrating the Avondale Brownstone walls of the home and the newly constructed seat walls
These design elements reflect the genus loci of the site by replicating the design language and the materials use the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, and the many stone farmhouses of the area.  All of the materials use were locally sourced and are the classic materials of the region.  In fact, our office is just minutes away from the only quarry that produces the Avondale Brownstone used on the walls!  The pattern on the walls and the home is called ‘rubble’ and requires fitting the stones together like a puzzle, piece by piece.  This is an immensely time consuming endeavor but creates a stunning look that breaks up the wall and creates immense interest.  To cap the walls we used ‘thermalled’ and ‘gauged’ Pennsylvania Bluestone.  ‘Thermalling’ is a technique in which the stone is heated up then sprayed with water to split the stone and create a rough texture.  ‘Gauged’ means that all the stone is split at a specified thickness be it 1, 2, or 3 inches thick.  In the case of our caps they are gauged at 2”.  To finish the seat walls and columns we installed brass lighting fixtures with a louvered finishing plate to light the walls and the walkways. 
Seen here is the focal point of the entry courtyard; this paving detail is to set off the future fountain installation.
The focal point of the courtyard is to be a fountain and the paving detail is meant to set it off.  Planted around the fountain are dwarf boxwoods and red barberry.  The red stone chips were an idea that I took from Longwood Gardens and will help set off the grey colored fountain.
24"x24" Bluestone Steppers set into the lawn

Setting 24” x 24” flagstone stepping stones into sod creates a transition between the hardscape and the grass by breaking up the monolithic feel and injecting a different texture between the stepping stones.  This is meant to draw the eye and make the visitor comfortable leaving the ‘structured’ space.
The evergreen plantings were chosen for ease of maintenance, to add another structural element to the landscape, and because they are a classic landscape element.  Perennials and bulbs will be installed when the weather warms back up in the spring.  The perennials and bulb planting will be a mixture of classic bulbs such as Allium and loose, grassy perennial textural plants such as Coreopsis.

View across the courtyard

Front of the home

As you can see from these pictures we created a dynamic, comfortable space, and that matches the scale of the home.

View into the yard

We used hardscape material from: Delaware Hardscape Supply and CST Pavers.  Our plant material came from Water Crest Farms and Valley View Perennials.  If you have any questions don't hesitate to visit our web page at www.lawn-scapes.net.

-Matt Bradley

1 comment:

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