Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Senior Design work

 First semester senior year I took a planting design studio. In it I learned  how to frame views, save energy, block winds, create plantings that are aesthetically pleasing with different textures, colors and form. Here are some projects from the past semester. I'm still waiting for two of my designs to be returned by my professor which she decided to display in the hall. I will also post my final as soon as I get it back. The final was my first big scale landscape design which was made for a low income housing apartment complex.
Pigeon Valley Apartments:
Now don't let the name Pigeon Valley Apartments sway your view too much (as a class we thought it would be funny to name our apartment complex after a bird and a landmark and I thought pigeon valley was funny at the time). This project gave me the opportunity to design a large scale landscape and I really enjoyed doing it. On the south side of the property I formed a 2-3' berm and placed a planting screen that consisted of large conifers and deciduous trees to block out traffic noise from the adjacent street. In the front entrance I placed an aesthetically pleasing perennial and shrub planting bed that frames the front daycare building but also leads you down the sidewalk paths toward the other apartment buildings. There are many planting beds placed near and adjacent to the outdoor patio areas which act as barriers from other apartment patios and as an aesthetically pleasing planting to the occupants. On the north side of the property is a large turf area which acts as a sheltered area where small children can run and play. Occupants are greeted from the road with a large cut boulder with the word "welcome" written on it, surrounded by a perennial planting.
Here is a rendered version of the above plan.
This is the part of the design that I had the most fun with. The program called for a "big wheel path" in the middle of the court yard. I designed a concrete sidewalk that went down the middle of the courtyard with an alle of trees to shade it. Then I placed a curvilinear designed path made out of a yellow colored concrete, designated for the kids to ride their big wheels on. The path goes in and out of the sidewalk and also behind benches that were placed there as a place for the parents to sit and read while their kids play.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vann Residence

This is my first "real" residence in the sense of we went out to the property and meet with the clients and from that made our own program. This is a two person residence with two poodles. Their main goal was to have a raised bed garden out back, a turf area for their two dogs, a small patio off the house in the back, and two water features with one in the back and one in the front of the property.
 Below is an email sent from the client which describes his ideal design:
The stone piers in front of the driveway will be connected with wrought iron fence to form a courtyard to hide part of the driveway and create a little sense of privacy for the porch.  We plan to have low berms on the front corners of lot and right of the driveway.  Minimal lawn in front yard and no lawn abutting concrete (eliminates the problem of turf building up over time and being too high for the sidewalk). 
Desire a rose garden south of the house in the indented area.  Desire to use the south sideyard for "dog lawn" for our 2 standard poodles.  Due to coyotes in the area behind us, we want to fence that south side so dogs can go no further east than the back corner of the house.  Dogs exit and enter house at laundry door (20 feet back from front southwest corner of house) and basement exit at southeast corner).  However, we also want to fence entire rear yard with 3 rail fencing and wire mesh so that dogs can roam when we are in back yard.  Forget invisible fencing - poodles will make the calculation of pain vs. reward and go right through it.  We also want to put stone patio (stone is stacked on south side of house - its random-sized sandstone that will be fitted together on bed of gravel and sand with "stepable" plants in margins) behind house on south indent next to basement exit.  Desire large vegetable garden in rearmost yard .  Fruit trees and grape plants north of that garden would be good. Grapes must be inside yard (not on fence line) so we can protect grapes from
marauding skunks and raccoons.
Problems to solve:  Drainage swale needs to allow stormwater overflow from cul-de-sac north of house next door to flow to lake south of our house.  Need way to make it look nice.  Retaining wall is desired on northeast corner of house to protect house from that water and allow for large elevation change.  Steps could be incorporated into that wall. How do you allow water to flow through fence without blocking flow while still keeping dogs contained?  How to plant north side of north garage (no access/pathway is needed)? How to use north sideyard?  How to plant south side next to fence because it is shaded?  How to keep south neighbors from backing cars into our fence outside laundry/ garden shed area yet still maintain enough room to access shed?
Other desires: water feature (one or more), perhaps in front courtyard and near rear patio.  All plantings except veggie garden low maintenance.  Everything will be either spray or drip-irrigated.  Blocking northwest wind in winter.  Blocking east sun in summer, but allowing maximum solar gain in winter on south and east sides.  Perhaps an arbor could be used to shade basement windows on south of sunroom in summer, but still allow solar gain in winter.  (Roof overhangs block summer sun for most other south windows).
Photos of the residence:
Back of residence
Front of residence
Swell in backyard


The main problem I came across in this design was the large swell that runs right through the middle of their yard as you can see in the photo above. I saw this as an opportunity to come up with something new and I enjoyed the time I spent thinking up ways to design this area. I really wanted to design some sort of rain garden into the swell but with Colorado's weather you really cant have a practical rain garden design. Therefore I decided to put a big dry river bed going all the way across the property, which helped define two different spaces within the back yard. 
Here is what I came up with:
Here is my first concept I did which is the one I liked the most of the two I did. I can already tell that I'm going to have to make the raised planting beds bigger and may change up the design and add a couple more. Also I am going to move the bubbling rock in the back by the patio over to the other side of the dry stream bed. There, it will be visible from the patio off the house and it will give an opportunity to play around with it's design and shape.


This is the preliminary plan I came up with. I decided there was too much space in the back for just planting so I came up with a low cost secondary gathering place which consists of a breeze pathway material with a few cuts of flagstone placed through out. I also placed a waterfall next to this secondary patio which can also be seen by the small patio space off the house. This way the clients can enjoy the water feature when they are tending to their garden. It is also placed so that it can be viewed from the master bedroom and the indoor deck/sun room. On the north side of the house I came up with another breeze pathway/flagstone area which steps down to the backyard through use of siloam steps and moss rock to give a more natural/mountainous feel when ente ring the backyard.

This is a quick sketch from the east side of the raised bed gardens looking west toward the house.

Here are some quick concept sketches I did. One is of the planting beds. I want them to be terraced on different levels to add to the form and also give it a little more personality. I look forward to playing with the shape and form of these beds. The second one is a sketch of the front of the house. It has a dry stream bed coming from in between the two berms.
Here is the final rendered planting plan. This plan is purely for presentation use only when one on one with the customer.
This is the final planting plan for the Vann residence. I enlarged the raised bed garden to provide more space vegetables and spices. I made a small keyhole cut into the raised bed garden to make access to the plants easier for the clients. A breeze path with cuts of flagstone were used for the patio space in the back and the north side of the house to create an enjoyable area that relates to the mountains but is also more affordable. Since the property is surrounded by full grown trees provided by the neighboring yards, I used very few trees, but the ones I did use would compliment the color and character of the existing trees. Minimal turf was used in this design to keep weekend maintainence down but is also large enough to provide space for the clients two poodles to rumage around on. The fenced in turf area on the south side of the property is designed to provide a safe space for the poodles at night and protection from the native coytees in the area. A rose garden is also placed on the south side of the property nears a large window, providing views for the kitchen and dinning area. Two three foot berms are placed on the west side next to the street to provide privacy to the property. A small bubbling rock is placed on the south side of the driveway, near the house. The bubbling rock is also the starting point of a dry stream bed that spills out between the two berms. All plantings around the house are meant to complement each other and provide seasonal texture and color to the property.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Smith Residence

HORT 432: Senior Studio Smith Program

Smith Residence

The Smith family recently purchased a new home located in Broomfield, CO. They are interested in having a landscape design completed. They spend much of their leisure time outdoors in their yard. The Smith Family has (4) children from ages 5 to 13 along with (1) dog. The clients would like a hot tub area in the backyard, as well as adequate space to entertain around the design element. Additionally, they want an area of turf in the backyard. Views must be maintained toward the foothills for both the Smith family and the neighbors to the east. The front yard should include a turf area as well as numerous beds. They like the material used in the existing wall and would also like large boulders to be incorporated into their design. All design guidelines must be followed. Overall, they want their landscape to be reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains.

This is a concept using concentric circle designs on the back patio.

This is a concept with a rectilinear design on the hardscapes.
This is a preliminary design with more
refined lines and quick color using colored pencil.
This is the final rendered plan using marker and colored pencil used for presentation with the client.
 I had a lot of fun with this design because it brought about interesting design challenges. Since the back yard had such a steep slope and the top priority of this client was to create the biggest patio space possible I came up with a patio design that was large enough to entertain yet at the same time created a space that had a sense of privacy without blocking any of the neighbors views. There are a series of four spaces that step below existing grade, guarded by retaining walls which support the clients privacy need. Also included in the patio is an "L" shaped hot tub equipped with a water fall using moss rock boulders and surrounded by grasses, spruces and dogwoods to add to that "Colorado" feel the clients desired. 
                This assignment was a little different because of the amount of constraints within the homeowner community. Also, with this design, we had to include a grading plan and construction details.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Joyce Residence

This was a program for one of my latest assignments in my studio. For this particular assignment I combined several concepts ideas and eventually came up with a preliminary plan. After weighing these different preliminary design ideas against one another I developed my final plan. This shows my thought/design process from start to finish.

HORT 432 Senior Studio Design Assignment 1

Joyce Residence
The Joyce family has recently purchased a home located on Black Bear Lane in Loveland, Colorado. They are interested in having a landscape design completed. Their home is approximately 20 years old. The Joyce family would like to maintain the majority of the mature trees and shrubs, although, are willing to sacrifice some plant material to accommodate the design. They spend much of their leisure time outdoors in their yard. The Joyce family has (2) young children and no pets. As educated consumers they understand the value of water and the likelihood that prices will continue to rise. Therefore, they would like a turf area in the backyard. This area should allow room for play but not consume the entire space. They are also interested in a water feature in both the front and backyards. In the backyard they would like a small pond and large patio space. In the front yard a they are interested in a small water feature to minimize any traffic noise, a small patio, a children’s play area and a small raised vegetable garden. They also want to reconfigure the entire entrance to the front door. The current driveway should remain. They are interested in seasonal activities and privacy. Most of the yard is relatively flat with the exception of the front yard, which slopes to the street. The F.F.E. is approximately 3’ higher than the surrounding sidewalk
These are several concept plans that I came up with based on the program
This is a quick concept I did on trace which combined some of the ideas I
 had from the first three concepts and also some new ideas and improvements.
This is the final preliminary plan which is a combination of the designs
 I drew from the above concept plans and other new ideas.

Joyce Residence-

Since reviewing your conceptual plans, your clients are more excited than ever and now would like to incorporate a swimming pool and a pool house into your final plan. The pool does not have to be large, but should include a shallow end and a deep end for diving. The pool house will be used as a dressing area and shall include shower and restroom space. The pool house will also be used as a guest house. Pool house space should be a minimum of 350 square feet. Swimming pool construction does not need to be specified. However, any special materials, boulders, water features, etc., will need to be specified. Create a final landscape plan for the Joyce residence. Build upon your critiqued conceptual and preliminary plans. This plan should be professional and include a title block including your name, client name, address, scale (written and graphic) and north arrow. As this is a final plan, it will be used for bidding and installation thus clarity, accuracy and most of all excellent design is required. Label all elements, create a plant list detailing plant names (common and scientific), quantities, sizes, etc. Additionally a complete set of notes should be included on this plan. They should cover any voids which are difficult to indicate graphically on the plan. These notes shall include any kinds of edging, weed barrier, mulch, soil prep, turf type, boulder style, etc. necessary for design. This drawing can be hand drawn or computer generated. All hand drawings should be neat with crisp printing. Copy your original for portfolio use. Originals will be pinned up in class and critiqued. Final plans must be turned in on bond.

 This is a quick thumbnail sketch that I did of a modern pool house idea I designed.

 This is a final concept idea I came up with which combines a rectilinear pool design to match the
style of the modern pool house. This concept will also complement the organic, free-flowing line style of the rest of the landscape with the addition of the hardscape around the pool.





This is just a quick sketch I did on trace which combines a water slide for the kids, 
a stone stairway to the top of the slide, and a water fall, all of which are incorporated
into a boulder-styled sculpture.



This is the final planting plane for the Joyce residence. The entrance walk in the front is designed so that walking up it is more of an experience then just a way to get from point A to point B. As you walk up it you see a Bubbling rock at the top which is also placed to be seen from the family room window at the front of the house. You turn left and see a variety of native plantings. Once you get to the top you discover a large patio/entertaining space near the entrance of the home. There is a screen of plantings on the north side of the property to block out views of the neighboring house. On the west side of the property there is a large water fall feature that can be seen and heard from the master bedroom, the fire pit area, and the patio area which is off of the back door. There is also a large pergola structure built above the patio to provide shade from the hot sun. Two raised bed gardens are placed next to the patio to allow for minimal walking distance from the kitchen to the garden. The turf area is also placed near the patio so the parents can watch over their kids and also entertain their guest at the same time. As you make your way south of the property toward the pool area you walk across a flagstone path surrounded by native plantings. The swimming pool is a rectilinear design complimented by a curvilinear patio/hardscape area. In between the shallow end and the deep end of the swimming pool is a brick sculpture/seating area that rises above the water level. The purpose of this sculpture is to provide safety to the children is they decide to swim out to the deep end and find they cant stay a float. It is also meant to be a place were you can place your beverage while in the pool and also a place to sit down on. The pool and hot tub are divided by four flagstone steppers which act as an access walk to the pool house. PLantings placed throughout the property provide seasonal texture and color and compliment eachothers form and character.
This is the second sheet of the plan which has on it the pool house drawing, planting details, the pool sculpture drawing and the construction notes. The pool house was designed to have a small space which would provide shade and perhaps a small dining or sitting area. It has access to the bathroom from outside for the people using the pool. It is constructed out of brick to match that of the house and black iron window frames to compliment the brick. This pool house is meant to contrast the style of the actual house so that it provides a different feel to the pool space from the rest of the yard.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Job experience/ internships

I have had a job since my junior year summer in high school. I started out working at Safeway. This was the first job experience in which I dealt directly with people. Safeway gave me the basic customer service skills I know will aid me in my future when interacting with clients. For the summers between my senior year of high school to my sophmore year of college I worked for Castlewood Landscape and Design,  a successful design and build firm located near the outlet malls in Castlerock. I worked as a laborer on many small and large residential landscape builds. I learned how to install irrigation systems, drip systems, water features, pond less water features, turf, trees and shrubs, and boulder placement. The third summer I worked there, after my sophomore year in college, I was able to work in the office which in turn gave me the opportunity to render a lot of architectural drawings. I also was given the opportunity work on a small backyard patio design with one of the former architects. During the school year I work a 10 hour a week job at one of the dining halls on the CSU campus to help pay for my groceries and supplies.

Below are some photos from my work experience at Castlewood Landscape and Design:


Here is the design I completed over my third summer. I designed everything but the plant material.
The following three photos are pictures of the finished product.