Chetola Estate

Winner of the Planet Professional Landcare Network's 2009 Environmental Improvement Grand Award

Our company was hired by the customer to design and implement a plan that would transform his wooded back yard into a haven of peace and tranquility. The nature of his profession required that the area serve as a formal entertaining space for his business guests and many of his ideas required elements of formal design. However the client personally desired many of the elements found in informal design and wanted the space to blend with the natural surroundings. We recognized the client’s need for an environment that would mitigate the effects of the intensive stress of his daily life. This was an objective that must be met in order for the project to be a success. The conflicting nature of these objectives posed the greatest challenge in the design process.

The secondary challenge was a gully that bisected the back yard and served as a watershed for a large area. This directly interfered with the placement of the proposed swimming pool and required that we redirect the course of the runoff water through the use of walls as well as raising the level of the pool terrace.

We created a formal swimming pool area with an infinity wall on the far side of the pool. We lowered the elevation of the pool terrace on that side and placed a curved arbor structure beyond it so that the reflection would be seen on the surface of the water. We placed a grotto spa with a waterfall at the head of the other axis of the pool so that the reflection of that would also be seen from the formal covered entertaining area by the house. We positioned the outdoor kitchen structure diagonally across the pool so as to provide a third axis of view.

We redirected the course of the natural watershed to the far side of the wall beyond the arbor. We constructed this stream out of large boulders and smaller stones and used pumps to circulate the water along a two hundred foot section of stream bed to create a small brook that served as the boundary between the formal space and the informal natural areas including a sixteen foot tall stone fireplace in the forest.

The challenge of separating the two distinctively different styles of design was achieved through the use of outdoor lighting. The lighting system was integrated with the “smart house” controls and, through the use of over sixteen different transformers, we were able to control what the viewer sees at night. We programmed different scenes for the customer to choose for different occasions. By selecting a formal setting, the customer was able to increase the intensity of the lights in the formal area by the pool while decreasing the surrounding lighting in the informal areas until they disappeared from sight.

Other, more intimate, scenes were available by raising the light levels on focal points in the natural areas and reducing light levels in the formal spaces around the pool.

Download and view project drawing here

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