Taming a Slope: Maher Residence by Huettl Landscape Architecture

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At this Maher residence, the existing back yard deck had a great view of water and shoreline — but it was a steep descent to the ground; to solve that problem, the owners called in Huettl Landscape Architecture. The designers went to work creating a series of levels, including a slate terrace with clear fencing and wood grain top that lightens the feel of the stone. Another lightening feature is a serene pond, complete with water lilies and water lettuce, that starts with a cascade from one of the slate walls; the shimmer of water and peaceful flow of the mini-waterfall soften the angles of the stairway and invite a leisurely pace. Predominant colors are soothing greens and whites; the stone steps are in a pattern of subdued reds, grays, and blues that reflect beautifully against the water.

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Another water feature accents the front yard; it caps a curved raised Corten steel planter filled with native grasses, perennials, and ornamental plants that terminates in a cascade falling into a circular concrete basin. Meandering white paving stones wind around the back yard elevation, while rectangular concrete pavers form a two-pronged path off the porch. One leads to low-lying beds and the compact, neatly trimmed lawn, while the other wends toward the Corten steel planter, edged with blue grasses, and ambles down beneath shade trees and beside a stone retaining wall. Terracing this back yard has created outdoor “rooms” from what was previously an underused yard area, converting a steep slope into an inviting space.

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Maherbase12.18.08.mcd

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).