A Modern Landscape for a Modern Home

However, in reality, landscape architecture plays an integral role in the design and use of any structure and should be considered early on in any project.

People often think of landscape design as something that just responds to the exterior of a home. Many do not even consider the design of the outdoor landscape until after a home is built.

As such, Rich involved his landscape architecture team early in the process, with the landscape design being conceived in tandem with the architectural design of Osprey Point.

Preliminary sketch of Osprey Point landscape design. Image via Granoff Architects.

There are several reasons it is important to involve the landscape architecture team early in the design process of a custom home. The team helps site the house to capitalize on features of the surrounding landscape. For example, important views can be highlighted while unwanted views may be obstructed and sunny vs. shady areas can be explored for passive energy efficiency.  Also, a landscape architect can help site floor elevations, think through ease of integration back to the existing landscape and how to best use the property’s unique features to the advantage of the design.

views of the surrounding Greenwich Cove. When siting the house, the main landscape considerations were focused on maximizing views from all angles while adding privacy from surrounding neighbors, create inviting, transitional spaces and even separation of parking from areas of use.  Being highly involved early on in decisions like these greatly contributed to the success of the final design.

Beyond these considerations, landscape architects consider environmental challenges and impact while maintaining strong design intent. There are many tools that are used to positively contribute to the surrounding environment including drainage patterns, planting selections, attracting beneficial insects (pollinators), building methods and material selections, etc.  All of these applied tools are used to enhance the design for the clients’ use, while mitigating environmental impact and helping to create inviting transitional outdoor spaces.

A modern landscape, much like its architectural counterpart, incorporates clean, simple lines and hard edges. Unlike a traditional landscape which is more elaborate with a larger color palate, a modern landscape is minimalistic with primarily one or two pops colors. Large swaths of similar plants massed together are featured with fun, seasonal pops of color and sculptural elements sprinkled throughout.  With a muted color palate to not distract from the sweeping views, the design team instead decided to emphasize texture, form and contrast to compliment the main event, the views.

In order to emphasize texture, a subdued green and tan color palette was selected with simple and clean lines using large beds of grasses. The hard materials are offset with soft, texture plant palettes. For contrast, the design team added pops of purple by using Verbena to dance within large swaths of the tan Calamgrostis flowers. Finally, to emphasize form, a sculptural multi-stem Kousa Dogwood tree was selected to frame the house and be lit up at night, accentuating the branching patterns.

Simple Shapes

utilizes simple shapes that derive from the footprint of the house. The visual energy remains on the water with large monolithic porcelain tile areas interrupting the resin bonded gravel. Porcelain is a very durable and dense material; water does not penetrate the surface, eliminating freeze/thaw winter damage. On the other hand, the resin bonded gravel is porous and designed to allow water to get in and out quickly. For both materials, the landscape team selected warm colors to complement the house siding as well as help make the covered patio more cozy and inviting.

Ultimately, by bringing the landscape architecture team in early on in the design process, Rich was able to create his own unique outdoor living spaces with a design that is tailored to the home and his family’s lifestyle while enhancing surrounding environment. In doing so, he was able to maximize the ways in which the family and guests will be able to comfortably enjoy the outdoor space and environment. As the landscaping at Osprey Point matures, it will only further accentuate the overall design intent Rich Granoff doodled onto those napkins in Iceland.

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