Situated directly on the Gulf of Mexico, this home was subjected to direct salt spray and unobstructed storms year round. The homeowners, who wanted to share their coastal lifestyle with family and friends, asked ArtisTree to create a no-turf landscape that was aesthetically pleasing, functional and congruent with the home’s architecture. They also requested that the design achieve the highest level of LEED accreditation possible: Platinum.  More photos below.

The Design

Since the beautiful, ever-changing Gulf of Mexico was the site’s primary feature, ArtisTree’s Clinton Lak designed the landscape to maximize the view by creating “portrait-like” vantage points from multiple, minimalist gardens throughout the property. He selected salt-tolerant, native and Florida Friendly materials, specifying exotic plantings for sheltered areas adjacent to the home. He also introduced a stunning, triple-port re-circulating water wall that defined the outer boundary of the courtyard. This wall functions as a noise buffer for nearby road traffic; captures rainwater off the home’s decking for practical use; and frames a newly created gathering space that’s both beautiful and serene. A living wall was added outside the master bathroom window consisting of drought-resistant succulents that reflect in the master-bath mirror.

State/County/Green Build Requirements

Because the residence was situated seaward of the Gulf’s setback line, strict guidelines and approval processes had to be followed. The setback line restricted what could be modified on the site’s west side, requiring preservation of the coastal environment. County tree permitting also stipulated that the lot have a minimum of 114 county-approved trees, the same number that existed prior to the home’s construction. This was a challenge given that the new guest house, decking and garage consumed much of the original forested area.  Because Florida’s Environmental Protection Agency governs the beach buffer plantings above and beyond county regulations (creating a very slim palette of material to choose from), ArtisTree replicated existing plantings.

The Outcome

The homeowners’ design expectations were meshed with multiple project requirements:  preserving the natural environment; adhering to budget constraints; utilizing green materials; and implementing installation practices and materials that stand up to the extreme environment. It goes without saying that the couple’s first reception party was an unqualified success, with guests having plenty of room to mingle, roam the gardens and watch a stunning sunset.


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