Exterior Worlds was recently involved in collaboration with renowned Houston architect Gary Chandler.
Mr. Chandler was hired to remodel a home for a resident who spent considerable time entertaining business clients at his residents. The new space was intended to function as a dining terrace and lounging for clients.
Mr. Chandler designed this terrace as a grotto with a distinctively classical tone.
It consisted of the dining space itself, a fireplace, and seating areas. Exterior Worlds was contracted to develop the surrounding outdoor space with a landscape and garden design that would support the vision and structure of the grotto.
The primary support element we created was a garden.
Its design was abstract, being characterized by only a few elements distinguished by very simple forms. Gravel was used profusely throughout in order to provide plenty of walking space. Vegetation was kept to a minimum to ensure low maintenance.
Antiques were then placed in the garden as decorative focal points. This created a color scheme that alternately complimented and contrasted that of the grotto. To ensure the privacy of visiting clients, we screened the garden off from the neighboring residence by planting an alley of trees.
The near side of the alley functions as a walkway that provides visiting guests with a sweeping tour of the garden. The backside of the trees presents an attractive, albeit impenetrable screen that prevents anyone outside the property from looking into its interior.
Our team further developed the landscape as a whole by planting a backdrop of trees.
These trees, when illuminated with artificial moonlight, created silhouettes that bathed the surrounding yard, and the garden within it, in an ambient blend of light and shadow.
Transition in and out of space was another important support element in this project.
In order for guests to comfortably enjoy the dining area, and then move with ease into the landscape at will, it was necessary to create simple and inviting transition areas. We decided that gravel would be the best material to use in building pathways through the garden.
We based this on several factors. Gravel has a Zen-like quality to it that makes it very calming to the mind. Guests walking through the garden in the evening would feel more relaxed and comfortable discussing business.
The aesthetic of gravel is also a curious blend of classical and modern tones, so it is the ideal complement to anything with classical architectural elements. It is also an excellent material to use for planting trees in the hardscape because it facilitates irrigation and drainage. One of the pathways we built in this project, in fact, doubled as a concealed drain.
Additional visual interest was created with sculpture and dwarf mondo mounds.
The irregularity of green forms and pottery contrasted with the rectilinear forms of the classical hardscape. When viewed in its entirety, the final scene took on the dimensions of a painting.
Landscape lighting was done by a partner company, Illuminations Lighting and Design.
ILD uplit the trees and feature lit the sculptures. They also created functional, artificial moonlight with mercury vapor tree lamps. Transition spaces throughout the property were illuminated with path lighting.