As modern architecture strives to create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor living, Landscape Designer, Bianca Bodley of Biophilia Collective manages to extend the indoors by creating outdoor “rooms” that combine the pleasures of nature with all the comforts of modern living. For a retired couple with a recently renovated home overlooking the sea, their landscape vision involved capturing the stunning ocean views from optimal areas around the garden at different times of the day. Enter Biophilia.
Bodley was tasked with analyzing sun and wind exposure shifts throughout the day to create defined spaces that would be protected and enjoyable in both the daytime and evening hours. Informed by topographical considerations, existing plants, climatology, design principles and client requests, Biophilia created a rambling natural landscape where panoramic vistas can be enjoyed at any time of day in all seasons.
Recently renovated by Tidman Construction, the home’s improvement centred on bringing the natural surroundings in with expansive windows and glass doors leading out to the sprawling landscape and views of the Pacific Ocean. The original landscape, host to an awkward sunken patio surrounded by a tired expanse of lawn, was also home to the couple’s coveted rhododendrons and trees that drew them to the property initially. Serving as the backbone to Bodley’s design, the mature rhodos and trees are now an up-lit special feature to enjoy into the evening hours.
Bodley’s primary goal was to resculpt the entire garden in order to create distinct areas that seamlessly transition at grade from the interior. “We brought in huge boulders and multiple truckloads of earth to create areas that could be accessed with a minimal grade change. Where a grade change was required, we utilized natural stone and flagstone pavers to create wide stair approaches softened with plantings,” says Bodley.
Five thoughtfully designed patio spaces offer unique experiences for various times of the day. Carefully curated plants were paired with natural stone for a serene west coast feel. Various shades of green, subtle blues and pops of colour create a cohesive colour palette to blend with the existing mature landscape. Bodley adds that “it was important that the layout keep sight lines unobstructed from both the house and the patio, while still creating areas that are comfortable and protected. Large machine-placed boulders were used to define areas and enhance the sense of privacy and intimacy for each separate space.”
The patio closest to the house features a custom-built mortar and stone gas fireplace that blends with the natural environment and offers an inviting area on cooler evenings. Further along the path, a seating area offers a place to dine al fresco while enjoying the sunset. The natural blue-grey undertones of the flagstone pavers complement the ocean’s hues and provide a non-slip surface that will stand the test of time.
Drought-tolerant perennials add dashes of colour that invite a variety of birds and bees. Grasses and evergreens create movement in the sun-drenched locations and in the shade, ferns, ground cover and dwarf evergreens add muted shades of green at the base of the mature shrubs and trees. Functional and aesthetically pleasing, Bodley has created a peaceful west coast contemporary landscape that pays homage to the home’s natural setting while improving the flow from indoor spaces to defined outdoor spaces.