Landscaping to Complement a Home

Landscaping to Complement a Home

Why, one might ask, is a Cape Cod architecture firm writing about landscaping? Good question, and we’ll tell you why: because your home’s design can either be greatly enhanced or severely diminished by its landscape design.

cape cod architects
With a screened-in porch extending off of one end of this ERT Architects-designed home, a portico off the other, and an oversized terrace, the line between indoor and outdoor living has nearly disappeared. This is due, in part, to the symbiotic relationship between the home and its landscaping.

If you are considering building a new home, or a large-scale renovation, it might be tempting to take a wait-and-see approach: wait until your home is finished and then decide on its landscaping.

We would argue against that for several reasons.

An aspect of landscaping that is easy to overlook, one that is especially important to consider before the design phase has started, is the need for any mitigation that may be required with a lot in an environmentally sensitive area. On Cape Cod, with so many lots that are on the water or adjacent to wetlands or conservation areas, going before a town’s conservation commission if the first step of the design phase. Showing up with landscaping plans that address any issues in hand can greatly speed up the approval process. When your architect and landscape architect work together on this, questions can be answered before they are even asked by the commission.

Regardless of whether or not conservation or historic restrictions need to be addressed, when your Cape Cod architect can work with your landscape designer right from the beginning of the design phase – or nearly so – the end result will be a more cohesive look overall, as though the home and the landscape were created as part of a single, unified vision…because they were.

This is especially true if your landscape design will incorporate a significant amount of stonework or “hardscaping.”

cape cod builders
An ERT Architects-designed home on the South Shore. Because our design for the home used fieldstone on its façade, ensuring that the stonework in the landscaping matched was crucial. We achieved this, in part, by working in tandem with the landscape architect from the very earliest stage of the project.
With this ERTA project, a renovation of a historic in-town home in Chatham, every inch of the available land needed to be carefully utilized to achieve the homeowners’ goal of having a swimming pool with an oversized terrace on the small lot. Because we began working with the landscape designer in the early stages of the project, the completed space feels intentional and flows beautifully from the home, rather than looking like the terrace and pool were shoehorned in after the home was finished.

Hardscaping is also an important consideration with walkways. Thoughtfully positioned walkways and, to some degree, plantings, work to guide guests to entries. Walkways and terraces can help define exterior spaces within your landscape, creating a sense of “outdoor rooms,” as well.

cape cod landscaping
For this project, a lakefront cottage that was razed and then replaced with a new home that we designed, the home needed to stay in its original footprint, at the very back of the oversized lot, because of conservation restrictions which resulted in an unusually large front yard. A series of gently curved walks wind throughout the property, and individual terraces break up the space.

Lastly, but by no means least, don’t underestimate the importance of the plantings you and your landscaper choose, and the lighting that you and your landscaper and architect select.

While we may all love hydrangeas and Cape Cod roses, they only bloom for a short time, and typically it’s at the same time. The key to crafting a landscape that has visual interest from the time the forsythia bloom until the very last dahlia has disappeared is opting for plants with staggered blooming seasons, so that there is color in your gardens throughout the growing season. Take things a step further by adding a few evergreen plants, such as rhododendron and arborvitae, for added appeal all year long.

A mix of lampposts, spotlights and sconces makes this ERTA-designed home look inviting, and allow the home to shine (pun very much intended) even at night.

Your landscape lighting will likely be a mix of fixtures that are on your home as well as around it. When your architect and landscape designer work together on the exterior lighting plan, not only will the look feel unified, but it will avoid both dark areas and overly bright “hot spots.”

Creating a beautiful home, both inside and out, is truly a team effort. When you trust yours to a team of experienced professionals, the final result will be a home that is not only stunning, but also a welcoming haven for your family and friends.

Please contact us with any questions or to arrange a design consultation.