Modern Front Landscape Design
With wall-to-wall windows, an expansive deck and sleek architectural designs, the Aquadisia estate on Florida’s Siesta Key was designed to celebrate breathtaking views of its 200-foot Gulf Coast shoreline.
But after years of neglect, the vistas took a backseat to the property’s, overgrown and incoherent landscaping.
“The owner loved the clean lines of the modern residence, views to the gulf and serenity of the coastal property but desired a fresh landscape focused on entertaining and water, ” says David Young, principal of DWY Landscape Architects in Sarasota, Fla.
Tasked with reviving the property, Young, winner of the 2016 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards, took cues from his client’s spiritual nature to create harmonious relationships among the disparate elements of the estate.
“The owner’s strong sense of privacy and spirituality provided inspiration for developing defined spaces within the garden – each with a distinct purpose, but all linked by water, ” he says.
Young framed the footprint of the home with a water garden that sets a serene tone upon arriving at Aquadisia. Walkways bisect the infinity-style pools, inviting visitors to move through the garden as if they are floating on top of the water.
These water-trimmed walkways guide visitors through an open glass cube flanked by a pair of solid marble Chinese foo dog statues. The vignette serves as a tranquil threshold to the home and an opportunity to pause for reflection.
To the left of the cube’s exit are the indoor/outdoor entertaining-focused spaces. A glass-enclosed room makes use of what was once dead space beneath the home, which is raised on stilts to withstand aggressive storms.
Another pool surrounds the room’s exterior, and shell-top concrete pads lure guests back outside to the nearby sunken spa and fire pit and glass-clad waterwall. The back patio area enjoys sweeping views of the private coastline.
To the right of the entrance cube are more intimate zones designed for relaxation and reflection. A tranquil labyrinth garden and adjacent pool are surrounded by parsons benches, inviting contemplation through either movement or rest.
Overlooking the labyrinth is another glass-enclosed room, a spa featuring a sauna and space for a massage table. Outside the spa’s walls, a length of dwarf Buddha belly bamboo creates a natural privacy screen between the room and the more public areas of the property.
“A design was developed that respected the clean lines and pronounced grid of the existing home while maintaining a sense of balance between the architecture and the extraordinary natural setting, ” Young says.
In clearing the property of invasive exotic plants, Young now had a blank slate on which he could use native Florida species to define the distinct spaces, create additional privacy elements and appropriately frame the panoramic views enjoyed throughout the home – especially from the upper deck.
Young’s team extended the existing second-story deck and added a slot-edge hot tub outside the master suite with unobstructed views of the ocean. A crow’s nest tower offers a chance to enjoy the crashes of the waves and swaying of the property’s palms, which aid in screening Aquadisia from surrounding properties in addition to adding a sense of movement.
“The homeowner wanted to create a sanctuary that was designed specifically for the way they lived, ” Young says. “Of importance was the idea of water as connectivity of the architecture and site, privacy, minimalism and experiential components that would provide enjoyment and wonder throughout the day.”