(click on any photo for a larger view)space

Figure 1: Original Plans for steps & landing

Figure 2 : Pond perspective

Figure 3 : Rail detail

Figure 4: Bridge detail

Second Revision: Platform expansion

Digging the pond

Finishing the Pond's stone work

Detail of the plantings and painting/staining

Figure 5: Final Plan, as built

The Boudreaux Home: Arbor Landing, Steps, Pond, Bridge, Plantings, Irrigation and Lighting

This project is our favorite. Not only does it combine all of the elements available to the landscaper, it is a study in interaction between the designer/builder and the customer. The result is a product which exceeds the expectations of both.

| First Revision | The Contract | The Installation |
| Second Revision | The Pond | The Lights | The Plants |
| The Finishing Touches | The Finished Project |

The Plan

The Boudreauxs live in the upscale community of Wessex in Cary, North Carolina. Theresa is an artist; Dan is his company's Senior Corporate Auditor for EDP Systems. They are both active in the art community, and own The Art Connection. The project began as an extension off previous projects. We had built a large concrete and brick patio. Another contractor had enclosed the screen porch and built a landing to it. The Boudreauxs wished to tie the two together and provide an easier access down the 35 degree slope to their patio. They also wished to upgrade the plantings and approach to their front door. The plan began with an extension of stairs to an arbored landing with a step down to a concrete walkway to the patio. The existing patio wall was to be expanded with a wing column and light fixture to announce entry into the patio area. Other features of the plan included a pond transecting the entry walkway and additional plantings to make the approach a little more lush. See Figure 1.

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First Revision

The Boudreauxs liked all the elements of the plan. First, it provided the access and connection of the stairway and lawn area to the deck. The arbor landing provided a nice focal point and transition element. But instead of putting the pond in the front yard, could we put it here in the back? And replace the walkway with a bridge? New concept drawings were prepared to incorporate these changes. See Figures 2, 3 and 4.

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The Contract

With a modified set of concept drawings, the proposal was revised and the new estimates prepared. The Entry Arbor was modified to include the new bridge and the walk was eliminated. Lighting was added to the brick column by the stair. Irrigation lines and heads would be moved to accommodate the pond and a special refill line installed to automatically add water when that zone was activated. The deck stairs, arbor, bridge and brick wall would be completed for $3,472.90 and the pond, plants and mulch would be completed for $5,792.41. The total of $9,265.31 would be paid 50% on contract signing and the balance on completion. The Boudreauxs agreed and work began in November, 2001.

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The Installation

Work began with the construction of the stair and rail connecting the porch outside the screen deck to the new arbor. Care was taken to copy the same design elements of the existing structures. The sweep of the header boards of the existing porch would be duplicated in the new arbor, for example, and the handrails matched to the existing decked areas.

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Second Revision

The posts had just gone up to the Arbor when I got a call from Theresa. "We have a problem" she said. "When you come down the stairs, there is this pole right in front of you." I went to the job site and sure enough, the trapezoidal shape of the original design placed the post in the wrong space. I huddled with Theresa and the crew and drew up a revision. We would expand the platform to a square shape and redo the roofline to a gazebo-like structure. All agreed and the modifications were executed with a much improved design.

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The Pond

Since it was December, the weather was wet and conditions were not ideal for installing the pond. The clay was now a bog and the going was muddy and slow. But through it all, the lines for wiring the new lights and pond pump were laid, the irrigation lines relocated, and the new pond dug out. Footers were poured for the new wall extension and the brick laid for the connecting wall and light column. The pond liner was laid and connected to the pump basin (which was custom made to incorporate a larger basin for the pump and filters. The waterfall assembly, too, was a custom construction (it began life as a utility sink shell). Once the basic infrastructure was installed, the bottom and sides of the pond were lined with river rock and the pond was filled. Next, attention focused on building the stream bed and waterfall, taking care that the appearance was natural and conforming to the contour of the land.

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The Lights

A carriage lamp fixture was selected by the Boudreauxs to cap the new entry column to compliment the three-light fixture installed at the head of the stair. Around the pond a low-voltage lighting system was installed to uplight the waterfall and an underwater fixture was placed under the bridge.

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The Plants

Blended topsoil was brought in and the area around the pond was planted in juniper, hosta, liriope, mondo grass and azalea. Water iris and water lilies were placed in the pond to further naturalize the setting and provide a home for the new gold fish. At the other end of the house, Italian Cypress were brought in to give importance to the south front corner and a cutleaf Japanese Maple 'Seiryu' was added to the front entry walk along with a hedge of abelia "Edward Gaucher". A Redblood was transplanted to the new planter area by the pond. Over all the newly planted areas was a final coat of double-shredded hardwood mulch and a fresh coat of pine straw for the natural areas.

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The Finishing Touches

Once the new wood had sufficiently aged, the wood structures were painted and the deck work stained to match the existing structure (by the guys who did the original painting). An ornamental fountain fish, commissioned by the owners, was added to the far end of the pond. As a final personal touch, black bamboo from the Boudreaux's stand was used as the rail over the decidedly oriental bridge. The resulting product is the culmination of the fusion of ideas and styles that work together harmoniously for a classic look and enchanting entry into the Boudreaux's private world. The final "As-Built" sketch (see Figure 5) shows how the project transformed from the first drawing into the stunning success it is today.

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The Finished Project: SP(click on any photo for a larger view)

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