“The Pattern Language” is a guide to great design for houses and landscapes based on studies of homes with timeless beauty across many cultures. It is expressed in a series of titled principals (patterns) that describe essential, measureable qualities. When combined in ways appropriate to the desired use, the client and the site, the resulting design generates places that simply make people feel good.
This garden installation extends an existing Pattern Language house (designed by Architect Rob Thallon) into a steep, rural forested site. Our design captures views while sculpting various outdoor living, working and gardening spaces whose edges dissolve into the surrounding fir forest and oak savannah meadows. The result is an interweaving of architecture, garden and wilderness organized in a way that invites wildlife, people and areas reserved for food gardens to coexist in a richly layered tapestry of outdoor living.
The patterns South Facing Outdoors and Long Thin House dominate the organization of the house on this site. The long, light bathed, southward facing home opens to the landscape with three French doors facing the steep slope and expansive views. The front door faces north, towards the flat side of the property and its entrance from the road. The entrance transition is choreographed for a gradual revelation of the property.
Parking is situated so that guests leave their cars behind to arrive at an altogether different place: a welcoming Courtyard Which Lives. The courtyard is a living and working space scaled for versatile use and a welcoming Entrance Transition that clearly guides visitors to the front door. It is its own space, yet it facilitates circulation to the lawn, which leads to the orchard, pond and meadow -- all located on this flatter northern side of the property.
The south-facing French doors, visible from the front door, frame the long southern views through the home and open onto neat paved patios at floor level. These spaces offer seating under Sheltering Roofs that top the cascades of stairs between terraced gardens and lawns. They anchor a strong Connection to the Earth from the interior spaces in spite of the 25-degree slope that starts at the edge of the house. The Terraced Slope creates flat places for sheltered plantings and Half-Hidden Areas, a harmony between extended views and retreat.
The stairs, lawn and deer resistant plantings thread along Sitting Walls to the terraced Vegetable Garden where beehives sit on the final wall, marking the end of the maintained gardens.
Vegetable and tender fruit plantings are enclosed on the fertile south side in beautiful fencing with trellised gates, and surround a greenhouse for increased production. A cedar tool shed is thoughtfully situated for garden storage and acts as foyer to a root & wine cellar buried in this lovely yet utilitarian portion of the landscape. The southern lawn acts as an open-sided gallery, enclosed by a sitting wall with views to the wild-flower filled oak savannah meadows below. In other places, the untamed wild comes right up to the home. Deer resistant species blend the ornamental plantings into the wild and are strategically planted in transitional spaces, adding a seasonal parade of color in gardens near the house.
The journey from the north courtyard takes one through a maintained lawn that dissolves into native grass meadows, through the orchard, and finally to a surprising Secret Place: a sun-drenched swimming pond with dock and beach. The area is cloaked in privacy by native stands of trees and a drop in the topography. Though nearby, the space feels removed from other areas of the property. It is a magical retreat that offers an invitation to stay and play.
This Pattern Language garden was installed over seven years as the client’s budget and energy allowed, but benefitted from the master plan that we created in the beginning. Many of our projects evolve in this way, from the confidence and clarity born of looking at the site as a whole. This ensures that all of the needs of the site and the client will be efficiently installed in a meaningful and integrated garden that seamlessly weaves the architecture into its context.
For more information about Pattern Language and how it can be used as a tool in creating great design, visit www.PatternLanguage.com.
Architect: Rob Thallon