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Driftwood Beachfront Estate, San Juan Islands, WA

Located on the shorelines of the San Juan Islands this project involved designing and building the grounds that supported the many outdoor activities enjoyed by the client while celebrating the intrinsic character of the area, the shore, and of the architecture.

The site was designed for playing tennis, horseshoes, treehouse, sitting by the fire pit, outdoor dining barbecue,  swimming in their pool, hot tubbing, beach strolls, cultivating roses, and room for wheeled and boating sports. The landscape was therefore integrated with many types of patios, pathways and playing surfaces.

The shoreline was a particular challenge because ever increasing tidal and wave erosion was eroding the property, however all current methodologies to protect the shoreline banks were either ugly in appearance, illegal in terms of regulation, or potentially toxic or extremely expensive.

Our solution was to combine a relatively new method of organic deep fiber preservation of the natural driftwood on-site with conventional anchoring systems.  The method of “organic deep fiber wood preservation” is a simple and completely non-toxic method of painting wood, in this case natural driftwood, with a particular solution from cedar trees.  The result is a permanent non-eroding, and non-decomposing driftwood.

This driftwood was then arranged in natural low buttresses and anchored with cables into the ground.  Geotextile fabric is used behind the driftwood logs to contain a custom mix of EssentialSoil Structural Soil.  This soil grows plants exceedingly quickly and is resistant to any wave action that might occur above the logs.

The effect is astonishingly natural.  Even at close range people are completely unaware that this is anything but a natural arrangement of driftwood.This method of shore erosion control can be applied to many other circumstances and challenges either on the shoreline, or on slopes, with ponds, lakes, or even wetlands.

Courtyard Waterfall, Bellevue, WA

Having solved future drainage and stability problems by filling in an old swimming pool the design of this project included a specific sequence of type, shape and size of stones to increase the sense of depth and distance. The stones in the background of the waterfall are darker, more rugged, where as the stones in the foreground are more rounded softer and lighter in color.

One design challenge and opportunity was to create a sense of flow by using several different materials, and elements in a small space. One method of doing this was to sequence the elements with analogous colors and textures. This design technique was applied to flagstones, pigmented concrete, pots and vessels, ends boulders.

The client wanted a Spanish style of masonry with used small stones that expressed a sense of water flow. Here a series of different sizes of Spanish and Mexican black pebbles were painstakingly arranged to fell like the flow of water as they proceed into the pond itself.

Overly large boulders were used, in proportion to the small scale of this courtyard, to convey a sense of stability, and naturalness. These boulders help to create a more natural spillway, while retaining areas of backdrop planting.

A tiny gap between two large rounded boulders created the entrance to stone steps that feels very natural as if these two boulders had been here for centuries.

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We don’t design the commonplace. We don’t believe in kits. Like fingerprints, snowflakes, and the stripes of a zebra,every project is unique we don’t believe in kits project is unique Like fingerprints, snowflakes, and the stripes of a zebra,every.