Set­ting the scenery in the yard

Land­scape ar­chi­tect talks out­door trends

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - PAULA MCCOOEY

Q. When should some­one hire a land­scape ar­chi­tect?

A. A land­scape ar­chi­tect is a ma­jor as­set when con­sid­er­ing any up­grades to the out­door realm. They are trained to ob­serve the land­scape, con­sider the sur­round­ing con­text, de­ter­mine the way in which one would like to use the prop­erty and make sound rec­om­men­da­tions based on these and many other fac­tors.

As well, a land­scape ar­chi­tect is im­mersed in de­sign lan­guage early in their ed­u­ca­tion; this helps them

Land­scape ar­chi­tect John Szczepa­niak draws in­spi­ra­tion from the historic homes and gar­dens of Europe, as well as the land­scapes of South Amer­ica. A grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Guelph’s land­scape ar­chi­tec­ture pro­gram, he en­joys bring­ing nat­u­ral stone and hardy plants to­gether to cre­ate in­spir­ing out­door spa­ces. He shared some of his in­sight with us: cre­ate beau­ti­ful and liv­able out­door spa­ces that are cus­tom­ized to one’s needs. Suc­cess­ful projects are the re­sult of suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships; a land­scape ar­chi­tect has ac­cess to a wealth of pro­fes­sional con­nec­tions, which will help ex­pand the po­ten­tial of the project.

Q. What is one great tip you would sug­gest to a home­owner when it comes to land­scape de­sign?

A. Seek­ing pro­fes­sional help will en­sure that one ar­rives at a so­lu­tion that is well thought out, re­sponds to its sur­round­ings and fits the home­owner’s needs. Make cer­tain that you are clear in your de­sires and com­mu­ni­cate your ex­pec­ta­tions.

There are many ways to en­joy the out­doors. At the end of the day it is the home­owner’s space to en­joy and it should re­flect their per­son­al­ity and sense of style.

Q. What is your favourite out­door space?

A. The Ex­per­i­men­tal Farm. As I am a con­firmed plant en­thu­si­ast, I find the col­lec­tion of plants in­spi­ra­tional and a source for con­stant learn­ing. I quite of­ten find my­self wan­der­ing through the farm on Fri­day after­noons in the summer with ge­lato in hand.

When­ever I am trav­el­ling, I con­sis­tently find my­self seek­ing out lo­cal botan­i­cal gar­dens.

Q. What are the most com­monly used ma­te­ri­als when de­sign­ing an out­door space?

A. I like to use high-qual­ity, durable ma­te­ri­als and prod­ucts. Nat­u­ral stone and gran­ite is al­ways a fab­u­lous longterm so­lu­tion that will look amaz­ing for many years. In­ter­lock­ing pavers have their de­sir­able at­tributes as well, be­ing more af­ford­able than nat­u­ral stone and be­ing avail­able in many dif­fer­ent colours and styles.

Low-main­te­nance, hardy peren­ni­als are an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the pal­ette of ma­te­ri­als as well as na­tive trees. Q. What’s hot right now? A. Sleeker, cleaner de­sign and ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing gran­ite and nat­u­ral stone. In ad­di­tion, Ipe, a highly durable, sleek South Amer­i­can hard­wood, is very pop­u­lar.

I also find the ad­di­tion of translu­cent resin panels suited for out­door ap­pli­ca­tion used in fences, screens and dec­o­ra­tive rail­ings is highly de­sir­able, es­pe­cially when in­fused with night light­ing. Qual­ity out­door fur­nish­ings fin­ish these spa­ces off well.

Pat McGrath/Postmedia News

This Szczepa­niak-de­signed loung­ing and dining area is re­fined, yet earthy, thanks to the warm tones of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and the canopy.

Roy Gro­gran

Lime­stone and plants with a trop­i­cal feel pro­vide a frame­work for an invit­ing pool in this back­yard de­signed by land­scape ar­chi­tect John K. Szczepa­niak.

Pat McGrath/Postmedia News

Land­scape ar­chi­tect John K Szczepa­niak says seek­ing pro­fes­sional ex­te­rior de­sign help will re­ward the home­owner.

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