Jul 13 2016

Landscape Buffers for Privacy

Written by Published in Blog

In the age of denser communities and smaller lots, buffering for privacy is on the mind of most homeowners.  While fogged windows can provide some privacy, how can you create a landscape buffer without hiding natural light and while still allowing plenty of open space? 

The key to the perfect buffer is selecting plant materials that is right for your lot.  Many homeowners want to maintain views, but buffers are important for bedrooms and bathrooms adjacent to neighbors' windows.  Selecting plant material that grows quickly is usually the most affordable choice, but selecting based on density should be your top priority.  Quick growing plant material tends to be weak-wooded and can easily blow over in strong Florida winds.  If you are looking for instant impact, selecting a variety of materials and layering them may work best.  

The first questions you may want to ask are "do I want a dense year-round privacy buffer?" or "do I want something with color during certain seasons?"  While evergreen plants can certainly be beautiful, some homeowners want privacy buffers that flower or provide interest during certain seasons of the year.  Based on your preferences begin by selecting evergreen or deciduous material, or a combination of both.  If enough space permits, Bracken's Brown Magnolia is a stunning evergreen option.  Many holly species are also evergreen, making East Palatka Holly another great choice.  If going for a more Florida-feel, Saw Palmetto is a fun selection. 

Japanese Privet, Areca Palms, White Bird of Paradise, and Bamboo are all excellent choices if you are looking for a buffer with height.  The overall height and spread of Areca Palms and White Birds make them a great buffer for pools or courtyards in tight quarters, while still creating a very tropical atmosphere.  Vines such as Confederate Jasmine, Bleeding Heart Vine, and Bougainvillea are beautiful options that can cover an arbor or be trellised to the wall.  

A tropical buffer, trellised vines, and columnar cypress create a stunning buffer for the contemporary home in Naples. 

A variety of fishtail palms, White Birds of Paradise, and trees create a buffer between these two tightly-spaced units in Old Naples. 

Jun 20 2016

Kitchen Gardens

Written by Published in Blog

With such emphasis placed on designing the perfect gourmet kitchen, it is no surprise that we have seen an increase in requests for unique kitchen gardens.  The center of the home, a lot of time is spent preparing, cooking, and cleaning in the kitchen so it is important to create a kitchen garden that is both interesting and calming.

This home in Mediterra features a small, but stunning, kitchen garden.  A tiered fountain, finished in stacked stone with patina copper scuppers, adds a rustic element to this Mediterranean home.  Lady Palms, Burle Marx Philodendron, Flax Lily, and Podocarpus add softness to the space while providing a variety of textures and shades of green. 

 

 

Jun 13 2016

Materials, both hardscape and softscape, say a lot about your home and lifestyle.  With so many options now available, it is easy to achieve anything from traditional and old world to coastal and contemporary for your pool deck, drive, and all hardscape aspects of your home.  

Choosing materials like porphyry and cobbles, set in a running bond or fishscale pattern, create a very Old World character.  Bricks and concrete pavers set in a diagonal grid tend to be a bit more traditional as well as suited to Mediterranean style architecture.  Recently the trend has shifted to more transitional and coastal design.  Linear patterns and the use of concrete and turf or concrete and gravel are transitional or even contemporary ideas. Shell and tabby concrete are becoming widely used in the Naples area for everything from pool decks to driveways.  Paired with palms and a transitional home, tabby concrete creates a very unique "Florida" feel.  

When designing hardscape on the community level, everything imaginable can be achieved using a combination of colors and paver sizes.  The entry at Winding Cypress uses a combination of light and dark pavers to create a unique "winding" hardscape design.