This project illustrates four different design solutions for the front yard and backyard of the Macintosh residence. Although the solutions are different, each was based on the same client, the same site, and the same design program. The differences vary with the function and the design themes used in the solution.
Nora and Thomas Macintosh were born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. They met at The Ohio State University when they were juniors in the business management program. After graduation in the early 1980s, they married and moved to Boston. Nora took a job with the local office of Hartwell Publishing Company (HPC). Thomas accepted a position with Slumen-Lokes Enterprises (SLE), a venture capital company. After nearly 10 years at these companies, they decided to move to upstate New York. Thomas was given the opportunity to lead a newly developed branch office of SLE as the chief executive officer (CEO). Nora was excited about the move, because she was looking forward to spending several years at home raising their newborn triplet girls. She was also quite pleased because her parents lived less than 45 minutes from their new home.
They enjoyed the next 12 years in their new home in New York. Once the girls entered the first grade, Nora began working part time. She became a freelance editor for HPC. In early 2003, SLE was absorbed by a larger company, leaving Thomas in a position to stay as CEO or be transferred to central Ohio to head another new branch office. Although the entire family had never planned on moving, they saw this as an excellent opportunity. Nora could take a full-time management position with the Columbus office of HPC, while Charlotte, Emily, and Anne would begin their high school years with their several cousins.
They bought a piece of property on the outskirts of Worthington, Ohio. The architect has finished the floor plans for the house, but the exterior character is still undecided. The Macintoshes like a variety of house styles and are having a difficult time selecting a final one. Because they have decided to hire your firm as the landscape design consultant, they are interested in some preliminary design ideas for their residence. A base map of the front yard is shown in Figure 14—1, and a base map of the backyard is shown in Figure 14—6.
Nora Macintosh has provided the following thoughts and concerns regarding the site development of their property.
Front-Yard Comments for the Macintosh Residence
• We are all music lovers and enjoy playing the piano. My mother was a concert pianist, and she gave us her Steinway baby grand piano when she moved into a small condominium. As you can see, we have a special room in the house for the piano. It will be a place for us to sit, play, learn, and read. We would like to have a variety of nice views from this room of the landscape in several directions.
• We have a small covered area at the front entry. We anticipate sitting on the porch, oftentimes even when it is raining.
• Because we enjoy sitting outdoors, we would like to have a courtyard where we can sit in the front and still feel separated from the rest of the front yard. We like the idea of using either a small hedge or low wall to help create this space.
• Because we entertain fairly often, we would like to have space for a few parked cars. Although there is street parking, we prefer to have some spaces within the property. It won’t be long before the girls will be driving, and we anticipate having a few extra cars.
• We would like to have some paved access to the backyard on the west side.
• The neighbors to the east have a small front sitting area that is in direct line from the view out of the library and music room. We really need some privacy in this area. We don’t want to just fill the side yard with a bunch of evergreens. We would like to have a nice place to view.
• There is a small, passive neighborhood park located to the north of our property. It is maintained by the association. We would like to have some views to this park from the front yard.
• There are three maple trees in the northwest portion of the yard. They are in great condition. We hope they can be saved. They also serve to help block a view from our front porch to a somewhat dilapidated empty lot to the northwest.
• There are also some smaller maple trees located to the west of the garage. We don’t want them removed, as they seem to help create a pleasant setting for the house.
• We realize that we have room to have a U-shaped driveway. If this type of driveway were to be incorporated, we could have a drop-off area near the front entry courtyard, and could even park our car there. We are not sure we want this but would like to see how it might work.
Alternative Design Solutions for the Macintosh Front Yard
Four alternatives for the front yard are shown in Figures 14—2 through 14—5.
Although each of them has dealt with the same client, the same site, and the same
Major Design Aspects
Form. Octagonal forms, to reflect the shape of the library and music room, define major portions of
the landscape—the drop-off area and front courtyard.
Vehicular Circulation. A U-shaped driveway was incorporated, along with parking for two extra cars. There is enough room for these cars to pull straight in to these spaces, and adequate space to back up and leave, even with cars parked at the garage.
Drop-off and Entry. The drop off area was designed to reflect the shape of the music room, a prominent space in the house. This space is separated from the front yard with a low hedge, an area for seasonal color, and several ornamental trees. It is strongly connected to the front entry courtyard.
Entry Courtyard. This outdoor sitting space, also an octagon, is adjacent to the main walkway, and is viewed from both the foyer and the music room. It is separated from the drop-off area, yet allows views into the drop-off area and to other parts of the front yard.
Major Design Aspects
Form. Semicircles and arcs were used to develop some of the elements of design. These include the driveway, seat wall in the entry courtyard, masonry edge around the library and music room, and some of the major hedges.
Vehicular Circulation. A semicircular driveway provides for a very smooth entry, drop-off, and exit. Two extra parking spaces are located directly off the drive, and with plenty of pavement for ease of backing up and exiting the site. This area is separated from the front walk with an arc-shaped hedge that responds to the circular drive.
Drop-off and Entry. This area is identified by a change in pavement from the rest of the circular drive and directs the visitor into the main entry space at the front of the house.
Entry Courtyard. The porch is shown as a simple, open wood deck with steps along the entire front, providing places for placing pots and urns. The courtyard is defined by a low seat wall with planting.
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Major Design Aspects
Form. This design is composed of rectangular patterns that relate to the face of the front of the house and garage. These rectangles are set at a 45-degree angle to also relate to the octagonal library and music room.
Vehicular Circulation. This scheme uses the western portion of the property so as to maintain as large a front lawn as possible. This was done by having the driveway enter the site near the property corner and lead directly to the garage. Two additional parking spaces are located to the northeast and southwest of the smaller patterned area of the driveway.
Drop-off and Entry. There is no separate drop-off area as in the previous designs. The entry walk is an extension of one of the parking spaces. A separate walk near the vehicular entry allows visitors to walk to the front door without using the driveway. Because of this layout, there is a strong axis that leads people into the front entry court.
Entry Courtyard. This entry court is designed as a formal entry with planting and low walls or fences accenting the central axis.
Major Design Aspects
Form. This alternative minimizes the hardscape so as to maximize the softscape. Most pavements, other than the driveway and a major walk, were designed to respond to the facades of the house, rectangular and 45-degree angles.
Vehicular Circulation. This simple driveway provides for easy access to the garage, and for one extra parking space. The area in front of the garage was delineated with a smaller pattern to scale down the space and make it more pedestrian in character.
Drop-off and Entry. There is no separate drop-off space in this design. An octagonal paved area serves as a transition space into the entry courtyard. It connects to the driveway and to a major walk that extends out to the northeast to intersect the public sidewalk.
Entry Courtyard. The entry courtyard is composed of an open deck and partially octagonal space for a table and chairs. A low wall and planting helps separate this space from the front yard.
program, each is unique with regard to overall function, form composition, spatial composition, and material composition.