Watermark Full Yard
About this project
- Location: Rockyview County, AB
- Scope: Design, Installation
- Timeline: 2018
The owners of this newly built house in the community of Watermark started off with an open ¾ acre lot that experienced high winds, sun exposure, no privacy, and a large amount of wildlife. We set out to transform it into the landscape of their dreams. They wanted to achieve a balance between natural and formal aesthetics in their landscape, creating a unique yet approachable yard with curb appeal in the front yard, and a feeling of natural sanctuary for the rear and side yards. Functionality was also important to them; the space needed to include adequate pathways for access around the property, a privacy hedge and windbreak enclosing the back and side yards for there is no fencing in the entire yard, an outdoor entertaining and social space, areas for their children to play on a lawn and trampoline, a utility area, annual vegetable gardens, and food forest. Their landscape also needed to meet community landscaping guidelines, which specified quantity and sizes of coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs, was encouraging of sustainable water use and water conservation methods while requiring an irrigation system, and required landscaping to be complete within one year of the completion of their home construction.
The overall design of the property featured aesthetically curving edges between zones of lawn and perennial beds to create a sense of enclosure and provide access to the various other elements on the property. All downspouts on the property, and the broader landscape grading, was set to also infiltrate rainwater into the perennial beds. The irrigation system was planned to have separate zones for the lawn, perennial beds, and annual vegetable garden, for efficient water use. Plant species for the project were chosen to be hardy in the challenging microclimate on site. The plants were primarily native, with many perennial flowers and ground covers, edible species, and unique feature trees such as hot wings maple, linden (has edible leaves!), larch, native limber pine and native paskapoo poplar.
A whimsical flagstone path that meanders underneath a cedar arbor planted with grapes, which serves as an entrance feature for transitioning from the front to side yards. The flagstone pathway continues with bridges over two dry creek beds into the rear yard with the trampoline area and annual vegetable garden. On the other side of the property, another flagstone path hugs the front of the garage where it transverses two dry creek beds, and then changes to crushed rundle around the side yard to provide access to a utility area and the rest of the rear yard. A beautiful weathered looking patio stone was used to construct the backyard patio, and a large outdoor fireplace feature and knee wall with landscape lighting encloses the primary outdoor social area. Natural rundle rock ridges were included in the perennial beds to add balance and structure, and a small reading nook with boulder seating was planned to create a private and quiet zone in the rear yard.
The newly installed yard already has a feeling of maturity due to the amount and sizes of the trees, shrubs, and perennials used in the installation. The lush green lawn is balanced by a large amount of perennial plantings that create the sense of enclosure that was desired. The feature element of the limber pine ridge in the front yard pays tribute to the southern Alberta landscape and sets this yard apart from its neighbours. A diverse range of perennials will flower throughout the growing season, attracting beneficial pollinators and giving the landscape character with pops of colour, especially around the patio and fireplace area. The edible bushes will benefit from the diversity created here, and the family will have a local source of sea buckthorn, chokecherry, saskatoons, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, honeyberry, wild strawberries, and more!
We completed the design in early 2018 and we worked with the developer to have this unique design accepted. The installation of this project was completed in 2018 as well, including a multi-zone full property irrigation system and managing all subcontractors for the project.