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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