Like all Albertans, we take a lot of pride in sharing our home province with some of the world’s most incredible natural landscapes. These awesome Cameron Heights homeowners were looking to bring the look and feel of the Rocky Mountains to their newly-built home here in Edmonton. Landscape designer Jason Stubbs worked with them to find the right balance between traditional design and untamed wilderness.
The Vision: Laid-Back Canadiana
The customers loved how their new home blended traditional styling with modern accents and materials. This Cameron Heights home is well-located with beautiful river valley views, so it would be important for the landscape to bridge the gap between the home’s timeless beauty with the surrounding natural environment. The customers hoped to achieve this with abundant, well-groomed greenery and nods to the Rockies.
These folks also had some preferences they hoped we could accomplish with the landscape design. In particular, the river valley view also included a view of a water management plant, which was a bit of an eyesore on the horizon. They hoped we could help them screen it out of view. Furthermore, while the customers adored the idea of having a lush garden, they wished to minimize upkeep and keep maintenance as straightforward as possible on the large lot.
Jason felt these preferences were very reasonable, so he took care to incorporate these requests into the design.
The Cameron Heights Challenges
The property presented a lot of amazing advantages thanks to its breathtaking vantage point, but it also posed some technical challenges. In particular, the slope on the side of the house leading to the walkout garden would generate a lot of water runoff in heavy weather. This would need to be corrected with an extension of the wing wall.
Furthermore, the front of the house had dimensions that would make it challenging to balance the proportions and create flow for the front garden beds. Due to a long-yet-narrow facade, the team would have to get creative to bring the house and front garden together harmoniously.
Finally, the challenge of hiding the water treatment plant would take some finessing. It wouldn’t do to simply plant a few trees in front of the facility—the seating area on the deck was long enough that the team would have to create a “wall” of trees that looked uniformly dense across the viewing area.
Jason and the team worked together to create a design that was functional as it was beautiful. At a glance, the results were so beautiful, you would never suspect that some of the features were built to smooth over the flaws on the lot!
To address the water drainage issue with the slope toward the walk-out, the team extended the wing wall with Rockies-inspired boulders and installed a dry creek feature. To onlookers, the creek simply looks like another decorative accent, but its true purpose is to redirect the flow of water away from the home. Jason turned the dry creek into a living area by installing a flagstone patio around the borders.
To obscure the water treatment facility, our team planted Colorado spruce to screen out the plant as much as possible. Then, we planted a few pockets of large deciduous trees that would add privacy to the area without completely blocking those gorgeous views.
Meanwhile, the front yard’s curved driveway had been looking a little lonely in the middle of an expansive lawn. To break up the lawn and repeat the curves of the driveway, Adam and the team created curved garden beds filled with modern, geometric boulders, as well as low-maintenance shrubs and perennials.
We repeated those gentle curves with the front garden beds that wrapped around from the front of the house toward the rear. We kept the curves of these beds simple so they would be straightforward to mow. We added structure to these areas with four rows of pavers, which would also serve to keep the lawn edges neat.
The customers were thrilled with the final result, which we felt was a perfect blend of old-meets-new and urban-meets-nature. The challenges in the environment were ultimately the inspiration for some of the home’s best features, giving this new-build property a character of its own.