The Wildest Requests Pro Landscapers Have Fielded
Kanebridge News
Share Button

The Wildest Requests Pro Landscapers Have Fielded

Moats, Trampolines and Crazy Pools, which have they actually pulled off.

By Erica Gerald Mason
Mon, Mar 29, 2021Grey Clock 3 min

Some of us might debate placing any sort of decoration in our yard. Will our neighbours find even a discreet tin deer statue pretentious? Other homeowners, however, freely pursue extravagant landscape ambitions limited only by their imaginations. Santa Barbara designer Margie Grace recalled designing and installing over 10 types of gardens on a three-acre site in five months. “A couple of months later they called,” she said, noting that she and the clients are still friends. “They wanted to put in a model (ride-on) train that ran ‘round the whole thing—and the adventure continued.” Here, a collection of the most fantastical outdoor-design directives professionals have ever confronted.

“A young family in Texas requested a moat and drawbridge around their country estate. It sounded like a lot of fun, but unfortunately logistically we just couldn’t make it work [within their time frame].” —Michelle Nussbaumer, interior designer, Dallas

“For a wraparound terrace on Fifth Avenue, a well-known fashion designer requested a trampoline for her boyfriend, who insisted it was safe, with no netting or railings on the edge. It was 16 stories up. The boyfriend never had an accident, but he wore out his welcome. We removed the trampoline and added planters with peach and apple trees.” —Janice Parker, landscape architect, New York

“Our client requested that we accommodate his refurbished World War II Sherman tank that was to be stored in a show garage neatly tucked into the hillside of their 62-acre site. The request was revoked when it was determined that their Belgian-block driveway would be destroyed and have to be repaved every time they took the tank out for a spin.” —Margie Lavender, architect, Ike Kligerman Barkley, N.Y.

‘We had to create some really intense engineering to stabilise the home while protecting the trees,’ said Miami architect Chad Oppenheim of ancient pines that geologists wanted to remove but the client loved.

Chad Oppenheim

“We were asked to create a miniature golf course and ice skating rink for a Connecticut client. During the warmer months, the kidney-shaped course featured buildings and monuments—the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty—to serve as golf holes, and in the cooler months [it was cleared and] chilled to be a skating rink.” —Chris Pollack, builder/developer, Greenwich, Conn.

“[A client] told me she had begun taking trapeze lessons and would like to install a trapeze above her pool inside a garden pavilion…She thought it would provide a unique way to exercise. A local stage-rigging company helped us attach a trapeze to the ceiling beams and equip it with a motorised lift. When finished, she would just drop into the swimming pool.”—Mark Lavender, interior designer, Chicago

“We designed an elaborate terrace with wall panels of rusted steel, a water feature, outdoor kitchen—you name it. The biggest challenge? Meticulously detailing and designing comfortable areas for the dog to go to the bathroom.” —Brianne Bishop, interior designer, Chicago

With help from Hess Landscape Architects and MAMO Architects—and carefully conceived hydraulics—Philadelphia interior designer Marguerite Rodgers satisfied an Avalon, N.J., homeowner’s desire for a backyard pool that could be covered with a sturdy surface on which to entertain.

Halkin | Mason Photography

“It was an exhaustive wish list—a white garden (“like the one at Sissinghurst Castle,” the client said), a theatre garden (“like Lotusland”), a parterre garden (“like Versailles”), a Zen garden, children’s garden, vineyard, herb garden, veggie garden, outdoor chess… And could we complete it in five months and have it look fully grown? Endless midnight design sessions and five months later, the gardens were complete.” —Margie Grace, landscape designer, Santa Barbara, Calif.

“A young family was looking for ways to incorporate a pool in their backyard, ideally without losing square footage for their children to play and space for them to entertain. They asked if there was technology like a hydraulic retractable floor that would cover the pool. With the right team, their goal was achieved, the first such pool in northeast America.”—Marguerite Rodgers, interior designer, Philadelphia

“A movie director’s property for his new Los Angeles home featured incredible, ancient pine trees, and his directive to us was ‘Do whatever it takes to preserve these trees.’ Problem was, the geologists wanted them removed to stabilise the cliff-side property. We had to create some really intense engineering, like tremendous caissons, to stabilise the home while protecting the trees. In the end, the window in one of the rooms basically frames these beautiful, old sacred trees.” —Chad Oppenheim, architect, Miami

MOST POPULAR

Interior designer Thomas Hamel on where it goes wrong in so many homes.

Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.

Related Stories
By Robyn Willis
Fri, Aug 5, 2022 2 min

When people talk about making a seachange, chances are this is the kind of property on the NSW South Coast that they have in mind.

Open for inspection for the first time this Saturday, 24 Point Street Bulli offers rare absolute beachfront, with never-to-be-built-out north facing views of the ocean. Located on the tip of Sandon Point, this two-storey property is a surfer’s dream with one of Australia’s most iconic surf breaks just beyond the back wall.

On the lower floor at street level, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, including a family bathroom and an ensuite in the master suite. A fourth bedroom is on the upper floor, along with the main living area, and is serviced by its own bathroom. 

While this would make a spectacular holiday home, it is well equipped for day-to-day living, with a spacious gourmet kitchen and butler’s pantry set into the articulated open plan living area on the first floor. A separate media room to the street side of the property on this level provides additional living space. 

Every aspect of this property has been considered to take in the light and views, with high ceilings internally and spacious, north facing decks on both levels to take in views of rolling waves. If the pull of the ocean is irresistible, it’s just a 100m walk to feel the sand between your toes.

The house is complemented by a Mediterranean, coastal-style garden, while the garage has room for a workshop and two car spaces.

An easy walk to Bulli village, the property is a 20 minute drive from the major hub of Wollongong and just over an hour to Sydney.

 

Open: Saturday August 6 2pm-3pm Auction: Saturday September 3 Price guide: N/A but expected to exceed $5.3m paid in March for 1 Alroy Street 

Contact: McGrath Thirroul – Vanessa Denison-Pender, 0488 443 174