I have no background or education in architecture at all, so please go
easy on me -- I have no idea whether my question is even reasonable,
or just plain naive...
I am starting from scratch, with a new undeveloped property. I am
planning to seek professional guidance on both home and landscaping
My question: Is it generally considered acceptable to engage a home
architect first, to arrive at a satisfactory home design, and to then
hire a landscape architect later; or is it better to attempt to locate
a firm that claims to do both, and to thereby accomplish both as an
I realize of course that the first response should be, "that depends
upon the quality and professionalism of the contenders". So, for sake
of discussion, let's assume that they are equal in those respects.
The issue that is troubling me, though, is more related to personal
appeal. I have found home architects whose work I like, and I have
found landscape architects whose work I like, but I have not yet found
both, to the same level of appeal, in the same firm. So I then
continually cycle back to my question above...
Thank you very much for any thoughts or perspectives that you might
share with me,
A couple of approaches:
Design the house with one firm, then design the plantings with another.
This means any cross fertilization between disciplines is lost.
One has to hope the architect is sensitive to the site or the landscpe
architect is flexible and clever in knitting site to building.
Find an architect and a separate landscape architect and ask them to
This may lead to a happy marriage or to fights that will take some care
from the owner.
The owner, of course, gets to end the business relationship with
I would agree... hire the two firms that you like with the understanding
that they'd work together. I'd be happy to work with a landscape
architect on a project from the beginning. Of course, I'd also want to
make sure they knew their boundaries, too.
I wouldn't think that should be too difficult, if the house is designed
with sensitivity to the site. Landscaping should work along the same lines
- be in harmony with the surroundings, while meeting the needs of the
people who will be living within the environment created by the home and
the landscape. And doesn't it all have to start with the site, after all,
and how the future occupant(s) will live upon and within the melding of the
existing environment and the created environment...?
I mean, typically, OK, Joey and Janie buy a house, plant a lawn, and maybe
put in a pool, swingset, and BBQ. Typically, that's End Of Story.
But ideally, if one is starting with a parcel of land, the first thing is,
where/what/how is that parcel (location, topography, local flora and fauna,
and al the rest of that), the first thing is, what is the philosophical
approach to that parcel? Does the occupant want to express dominion over
nature, equality with nature, or deference to nature? That is the first
question, I would think, for *both* the Architect, and the Landscape
Architect, because it seems to me that that question is the "primary
absolute" so to speak ((there might be a technical and/or sociological term
for it but I don't know what that term would be)). The question is actally
a bit broader, and a nuanced continuum rather than a set of precisely-
defined categories, but I reduced it to three for the sake of simplicity
(and because I have a tendency to see things in terms of triplicities,
rather than in terms of opposites/dualities). Anyhoo, overall, it seems to
me that, before and apart from a sociological or stylistic context, all
buildings *and* designed landscpaes seem to express one of those three
overarching attitudes towards nature: dominion/control, equality/harmony,
or deference/submission-(for lack of a better word).
How that relates is that, if an Architect has a style that expresses
dominion/control, that style could not be workanbly paired with a Landscape
Architect whose style expresses deference or even harmony.
It'd be something like trying to pass a piece of music off as "hip-hop in
the classical symphocin tradition". Oh yeah, people will try to pass stuff
off as such things, and someone of *true* genius might actually make such a
chimera viable. But overall and in general, oil and water don't mix.
How that translates into boundaries is that IMO, boundaries are most easily
respected when the fundamental absolutes of philosophy are similar. If an
Architect and a Landscape Architect are starting from the same fundamental,
three shouldn't be a problem with boundaries.
I would think that any such problem would only arise if the owner/occupant
engaging the various professionals' services had no idea of what are ond
are not their *own* philosophical underpinnings, and just goes out and
hires people willy-nilly.
Me, neither, but so what <G!>
Education is not a prerequisite to either interest or thinking.
IMO, the fun part is learning enough about both so that you can get some
ide of what you like, what you want, and what plants will do well in your
area - including what plants will meet your interests. If you're
interested in wildlife (birds, butterflies, small reptiles, mammals, etc.),
learn about plants that will provide cover and food sources for the sorts
of critters you're interested in attracting into your yard. IMO three are
few things more fun that loading up on landscaping and even botany books,
and exploring all of that :)
Equally fun is looking into building styles, and doing some reading and a
lot of thinking about building philosophies. Cave homes, dome homes,
traditional homes, primitive homes, places like Arcosante - ALL of it is
fascinating (life is too dang short!), and as you read about various
philosophies about the home, and the interactions between buildings and
their environment (and the global environment), and so on, you get a better
understanding (well, at least, I did) of what you really like, what you
really want, and why - you get a sense of just what sorts of things are
important to you. Sometimes one can end up surprising oneself.
Id suggest thinking and talking about what is consistent across the various
things you like. Those constants are then things you can look for in the
philosophies of the respective contenders. They don't have to all work for
the same firm - but it does help if they can stand on similar, or at least
harmonious, philosophical grounds.
I'm trying to practive brevity, so I hope the above makes sense.
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