Stone Steel & Sculpture

This garden is a blend of modern design and organic elements. The overall design concept for the lakeside garden was developed by taking a cue from an architectural detail on the house of a contrasting brick that forms a half radius. This motif was then transferred to the landscape by creating a series of interpretive concentric partial radii using corten steel. The idea initially came from questioning of what would the space look like if that radius fell over onto the ground…how would the shape be interpreted?
The walls formed by the steel occasionally intersect several large stone boulders, a combination of Hematite and Iron Ore, which were harvested from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The planting spaces are filled with masses of perennials and mature specimen ornamental trees. This same theme of stone and steel is carried throughout the entire garden with these materials incorporated in various locations, accented by several sculptural pieces.

There are several key element and special features to this garden:
• Corten Steel Walls
• A mixture of very large, up to several tons, Hematite and Black Granite (iron ore) boulders
• Custom pondless waterfall including two stones that were cored thru so that water comes right thru
the stone
• Nine Dragon Stone Bar Table- with free floating cantilever
• Side Terrace Pergola from Steel
• Front Fountain- all season “Mirror Basalt Fountain” that turns into a winter ice sculpture
• Front drive a mixture of exposed aggregate, specialty pavers, and asphalt
• Custom set lower patio and stone steps
• Very large specimen plant material including
Green Japanese Maple -Acer Japonica “virdii”
Weeping Purple Beech – Fagus sylvatica “Purpurea Pendula”
Weeping White Pine – Pinus strobus “Pendula”
Mitches Weeping Pine –Pinus sylvestris “Mitch Weeping”
Alaskan Cedar - Chamacyparis
Columnar White Pine –Pinus strobes “Fatigiata”
Tri Color Beech – Fagus sylvatica “Roseo Marginata”
• Extensive low voltage lighting
• Built in grill area
• Extensive Collection of Perennials

Garden history or development –
AguaFina’s team was at the end of the design process and days away from beginning construction. The day we were to present our final concept and coordinate construction schedules with the owner, AguaFina principal, Daryl Toby and a staff designer were standing in the area which is now the lakeside patio and the “ah-ha” moment happened. Although this initial design was what had been requested by the client, Daryl felt it just was not creative enough. It was then that he saw the detail on the home, a semi radius of brick, that was the impetus for a new design.. The appointment with the client was to be in two hours and Daryl and an assistant designer rushed back to the office and quickly sketched out the initial concepts of the garden which was ultimately created.

Aside from the aesthetic nature of the garden, there were numerous engineering challenges. The house was constructed on unstable former marsh land. In order to stabilize the area, the entire garden space was excavated down to a depth of approximately 15-20 feet to remove organic material. Engineered fill replaced this soil and the area was allowed to settle for several months prior to construction. Heliocoil pilings were then used to support the entire steel wall structure and to create support for the very largest boulders. Boulders were first set. The corten steel plate was bent on site, attached to these pilings, and templates created in order to cut the steel around the boulders. Access to the site was very limited. In order for machinery to reach the back of the property, a reinforced “road’ was created between the adjacent property and the house with barely enough space for the excavator to travel to the lower level. Moving each boulder and large tree to the back of the site was a very slow and challenging process.

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