ArtisTree-Designed Coastal Landscape Goes LEED Platinum

Life is a breeze at this beautifully landscaped coastal home. 

Our objective: To create a functional, sustainable, no-turf  coastal landscape. Our landscape design had to be aesthetically pleasing, minimally-impactful/low-maintenance and congruent with 1) the home’s architecture, 2) coastal environment and 3) homeowner’s lifestyle. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work!

Our challenges: 

The home was situated directly on the Gulf of Mexico and subjected to direct salt spray and unobstructed storms that battered the landscape throughout the seasons. We selected salt-tolerant, native and Florida-Friendly materials, and opted for exotics in the sheltered areas adjacent to the house to withstand the humid micro-climate.

Coastal landscapeDesign criteria:  Since the homeowners enjoyed entertaining and sharing their coastal-living lifestyle with family and friends, they insisted on open gathering spaces for up to 25 guests. But they also wanted intimate private gardens where they could retreat as a couple or just read a book alone. Since the ever-changing Gulf of Mexico was the primary feature of the site, ArtisTree designed the entire landscape to maximize the view by creating “portrait-like” mini-views throughout the gardens. The homeowners were receptive to the concept of a water feature (thrilled actually), so we developed a triple-port, re-circulating water wall that defined the outer boundary of the courtyard and primary gathering space.The water wall also functioned as a noise buffer from nearby road traffic while capturing rain water off the home’s decking for practical use. Once installed, the courtyard was immediately transformed into a stunning, serene space involving all the senses. We also added a living wall outside the master bathroom window brimming with drought-resistant succulents that reflected in the master-bath mirror.

State/county/green build requirements:  Since this Casey Key residence was situated seaward of the Gulf’s setback line, we had strict guidelines to adhere to which would be followed by a rigorous approval process.  The setback line dictated what we could modify on the site’s west side in order to preserve the existing coastal landscape. Part of our challenge was meeting the county’s tree permitting requirements, which stipulated that the lot must have a minimum of 114 county-approved trees — the same amount as the number of trees prior to the construction of the new home. Sounds relatively straightforward, but the new guest house, decking and garage consumed much of the original forested area! Still, we made it work just beautifully. 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 results? In a word, they were breathtaking — a delicate, interdisciplinary mesh of fusing the homeowner’s expectations with dozens of project requirements: preserving the natural environment; staying within a tight budget; using green materials; creating a unique concept and design; implementing best practices for installation; and selecting materials that stand up to the extreme environment.

If you’re dreaming of your own coastal sanctuary, call ArtisTree and we’ll be happy to arrange a consulting appointment with one of our award-winning designers. 941.488.8897


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