We sent Paula’s long-awaited landscape plan off to Kevin for consultation with Francisc and for their comments.
Overall, we got a not-unexpected “yes, but …” reply.
It starts like this:
Overall, it looks nice. The key is that on this first pass you got something you can work with. Now, we need to get it to where it can be executed starting in a 3-4 weeks.
Now on to the specifics:
On the stairs directly down from the parking to the stairs, there was no mincing of words.
Nobody this end — me, Francisc, others — thinks it’s a good idea to execute a staircase directly from the front door to the parking lot … it’s too steep and the costs of doing it (in anchored, reinforced cement) could be prohibitive.
This one point Anne and I won’t budge on. We’ll just hope the costs are manageable.
On the other access paths in front of the house.
I would be careful to not “junk up” the front of the house with two many stairs, trails, paths … ONE would be fine and that lets the house and planned plantings speak for themselves.
Here we agree.
On the idea of a “guard wall” at the bottom on the driveway, his thoughts are clear.
No additional walls are required at the driveway/parking lot … I don’t understand why that’s been suggested.
This one is trickier for us. We do have a concern abour cars going over the edge, based on our past visits, but the situation may have changed. We’re going to leave this guard wall out of the plan, but think about putting some large planters there to define the edge better than the wooden rail fence will on its own.
Moving to the back of the house, he had only one major concern.
I would not put a pergola on the back of the house — this would essentially defeat a key design element of the house — all those big french doors that bring light into the house. If the pergola is covered in vines or plants, or even if it’s there unencumbered, it will block sunlight into the house … if you need shade (and you will) head under the portico or onto the 1st floor terrace. Note that with the quality of insulation in the walls, door/window glass and roof — WAY BEYOND a normal house — the idea of too much heat coming in is a non issue … plus, a pergola will require permissions … plus, it’s something you could always add LATER, so see if you really need it before spending money on it and blocking light.
He’s convinced us here. No pergola for now.
Now it’s time for the clincher and he’s spot on here.
Paula needs take the lead on this and specify exactly what is needed. I can help, certainly, but she needs to lead (and she needs to do that LITERALLY as soon as you say you like the plan as is)
My job is to back to Paula and get her to step up and take charge.
Paula did go to the site and explain the plan to all involved: Kevin, Francisc, Pippo and his son Marco, who will do the landscape installation. While the relationship between Paula and Kevin and Francisc can be quite testy, she seemed to hit it off with Pippo and Marco, which apparently helped to lighten the mood.
Next is for Francisc to plan and cost the stairs and for Paula to get to work on the planting plan.
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