Landscape as Art

We approach all of our designs from an artistic perspective, but on this Herron Morton neighborhood project, we viewed the ground as our canvas for blocks of texture, color, shape, and even sound. As is typical in Indy’s near northside neighborhoods, space was tight, and all areas needed to be tightly managed to make the outdoor space as usable as possible while still making visual sense.

The front yard has a terraced, almost southwestern look to it with low-maintenance blocks of groundcovers, grasses, and boxwoods broken up by limestone block walls. and corten steel panels. A corten panel with cutouts for the address seamlessly integrates into the design. Columnar maple trees frame the house and help scale the landscape up to work with the surrounding buildings.

The narrow lot leaves very little outdoor space in the side and back yard. On these kinds of projects we look to the client’s goals for the space to maximize the use of the limited square footage. From a practical perspective, we wanted to increase level patio space without reducing green cover, incorporate raised beds, and provide screening between the main seating area and the next door neighbor’s windows. Aesthetically, we wanted to make the space interesting while keeping it from being cluttered, create visual axes to help the design feel both anchored and dynamic, ensure that views from inside the house were just as rewarding as views from the outside, and match the new home’s modern feel.

When the house was built, a small concrete slab patio was tucked between sections of the house for some sheltered seating. To extend this usable area into the lawn, stepping stones were set in sod to create additional level, paved surface while using the sod to soften the look. A water feature is set in line with the stepping stones and centered on the concrete patio for soothing sounds and a visual focus. Speakers are set in the mulch bed to let the homeowners define the atmosphere of the space with music. Along the fence, a line of columnar hornbeam trees screens the seating area from the neighbor’s first and second floor windows and adds a much-needed vertical element without requiring a tall fence that would make the space feel claustrophobic.

Beyond the gathering space, raised beds set in gravel allow the homeowners to grow produce or annual flowers. A brilliant green sculpture set in one raised bed provides a focal point for the long axis along the house. Between the back of the house and the garage another lawn area brings some more green to the design. To create more interest for views from upper level windows, circular pavers of various sizes are scattered throughout the lawn. A clean, simple cedar fence with horizontal planks encloses the back and side yards.

Want to create your own one-of-a-kind outdoor space? Contact us today to schedule a meeting with a designer and start dreaming up a space perfectly suited to you. Our crews are scheduled months in advance, so the sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner you can get on our schedule. In the meantime, check out our other project spotlight blog posts and our portfolio page to see other examples of our work.

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