Throughout this design textbook, much has been presented regarding the development of alternatives in various stages of the design process. In the early stages of design, when the designer is beginning to organize functional relationships between the elements of the design program and the site, it was suggested that alternative ways be explored to solve the problem functionally. Also, during form composition, it was advised that alternative design patterns be studied that would provide major structure to a design. In addition, during the spatial composition phase, it was suggested that various ways be investigated to create spatial edges, overhead canopies, framing of views, and so forth. Hardscape and softscape elements can be used separately, or in conjunction with one another, in further developing ideas for spaces and subspaces. Lastly, when specific materials and patterns are selected, it was recommended that the designer study alternative ways of combining materials in developing the final patterns of the hardscape and the softscape.
As designers make decisions to explore alternatives at various stages of the design process, these efforts will undoubtedly serve to enhance their abilities to create unique, exciting, and personal spaces for clients.
This chapter includes four different projects, each with a series of alternatives for front and/or backyards. Each set of alternatives is different from the others. Some are based on the same client, the same site, and the same design program. The differences are based on the functional organization of the site and the design theme used to create overall patterns in the design solution. Other sets of alternatives are based on the same site, but different clients and design programs. In any case, it is important to understand that alternatives are (1) valuable tools to assist in the development of a final design decision, (2) beneficial in selling design ideas to clients, and (3) helpful in the growth of the designer.