Zen Garden Harmony

A mid-level seating area is gently shaded overhead by cypress trellises. Brick is used on the stairs and perimeter of entertaining areas. In the background is an ideal view of the lake.

A mid-level seating area is gently shaded overhead by cypress trellises. Brick is used on the stairs and perimeter of entertaining areas. In the background is an ideal view of the lake.

The dining and intimate seating areas on one of the mid-level decks are shaded overhead with cypress trellises.

The dining and intimate seating areas on one of the mid-level decks are shaded overhead with cypress trellises.

Centering around the stream, which meanders from one level to the next, the back yard retreat can be enjoyed from all levels of the main house.

Centering around the stream, which meanders from one level to the next, the back yard retreat can be enjoyed from all levels of the main house.

Literally floating over the water's edge is the lower deck with seating and pier lighting. From this vantage point the channeled stream delicately falls over a craftsman-style, patterned slate. The water spills over copper receptacles, dances over brass medallions, and flows into a small pool behind the gas log fireplace.

Literally floating over the water’s edge is the lower deck with seating and pier lighting. From this vantage point the channeled stream delicately falls over a craftsman-style, patterned slate. The water spills over copper receptacles, dances over brass medallions, and flows into a small pool behind the gas log fireplace.

Between the grilling station and outdoor fireplace, a door leads to the guest suite, with the living room purposely situated to appear as if suspended over the lake itself.

Between the grilling station and outdoor fireplace, a door leads to the guest suite, with the living room purposely situated to appear as if suspended over the lake itself.

On the built-in grilling station, a gold-speckled Uba Tuba granite countertop was custom designed to match the rounded edging of the grill. The adjacent door leads to the guest suite with a living area that appears to be suspended over the lake.

On the built-in grilling station, a gold-speckled Uba Tuba granite countertop was custom designed to match the rounded edging of the grill. The adjacent door leads to the guest suite with a living area that appears to be suspended over the lake.

 The addition of a guest suite, carport, and over 1,000 square feet of terraced hardscape and landscape create a restful, Zen-like experience at this historic Orlando home.

The addition of a guest suite, carport, and over 1,000 square feet of terraced hardscape and landscape create a restful, Zen-like experience at this historic Orlando home.

The house after demolition.

The house after demolition.

The house before.

The house before.

WoodsonFP_after

The Story

In keeping with the rich history and craftsmanship of the original circa 1927 home and the subsequent historical renovation of the main house, the addition of a guest suite, carport, and over 1,000 square feet of terraced hardscape and landscape are the perfect conclusion to this noteworthy project. The result is anything but an ordinary back yard.

With their eye on the methods and materials of the past, Duke and Colleen Woodson based the overall concept of pumping water from the lake and letting it fall down again from Duke's parents' home in Alabama. This is a natural extension of their respect for the environment while creating a restful, Zen-like experience in their own back yard.

Landscape architect Frank Joseph (Joe) Brooks designed the multi-level decks based on the homeowners' personal style as well as the site itself. The tall sloping lot lent itself perfectly to the terraced effect with overlapping layers of hardscape and greenscape.

One of the prime design elements is the water channel which performs double duty – as visual interest as well as a drainage path. Details for the water channel were fine-tuned based on an exhibit at the Phillips Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as a fairly narrow channel garden in England. Duke wanted to be able to see the water flowing to the lake from his fourth floor home office while enjoying the soothing sounds of the fountain. The design of the altar floor in the open-air chapel at the Maitland Art Center also served as inspiration for placing pieces of slate as anchors and stepping-stones along the water channel edge. The square slate pattern also acts as a visual display from the adjacent patio.

Covered areas are constructed of tongue and groove solid pine. Open spaces are gently shaded with cypress trellises. Brazilian wood was chosen for the balcony, dock, walkway and stairs, and left unstained to blend with the natural finishes of the garage and guest suite.

A priority for this back yard design was the addition of a guest suite at the edge of the property overlooking the lake. Designed by residential designer Karen Kassik of Lucia, Kassik & Monday, the suite includes a full bath, private bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and a living room. With corner windows, the living room is purposely situated to appear as if suspended over the lake itself. Doors and hardware match those of the existing home. To make the new space as energy efficient as possible, Isonene insulation was used in the walls and ceiling of the new guest suite as well as the attic and walls of the carport.

Conveniently backing up to the guest suite is a single car carport at the end of a rear access driveway. The gold-speckled Uba Tuba granite countertop on the built-in grill was custom designed to match the rounded edging of the grill. A fireplace adjacent to the grill is an ideal spot for gathering. To satisfy their love of gardening, the Woodsons added a potting area, topped with the same Uba Tub granite countertop, on the mid-level terrace.

Hidden from view and literally floating over the water's edge is the lower deck with seating and pier lighting. From this vantage point the channeled stream delicately falls over thoughtfully designed slate in a craftsman style pattern, where the final destination has the water spilling over copper receptacles, dancing over brass medallions, and flowing into a small pool behind the gas log fireplace. Extraordinary in every way, the drama never seems to end with this project's amazing synergy of design, landscaping and craftsmanship. 

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