A Japanese-inspired landscape that included a rock-edged swimming pool and relaxing tea house earned landscape designer Tara Watt and Andy Gagnon Landscapes Inc. the top residential landscape prize from the California Landscape Contractors’ Association’s Sacramento chapter.
Watt is a Davis resident and Gagnon is a Woodland contractor.
The award-winning landscape project, which was lauded for its masterful stone use and attention to detail, was completed in fall 2011 and resulted from a collaborative effort on the part of the designer, the builder and the homeowners, who approached the landscape team while still in the planning stages of a new home on a residential lot in Central Davis.
In keeping with the California bungalow/Craftsman architectural style of the 1920s that drew heavily from the aesthetics of classical Japanese design, the homeowners wanted a pool and landscape plan that would complement their new bungalow-style home, provide an Asian garden sensibility, be mindful of unique Davis growing challenges — hot days and high soil pH — and require little maintenance.
Watt and Gagnon started laying the groundwork for the future landscape while the previous home was still standing, mapping the site around the old structure and selecting which existing plants to save and how to protect them during demolition and construction.
Watt focused on the selection and placement of natural materials, particularly the stone types, and Gagnon incorporated stones into the pool edges and pathways. The completed landscape combines the best of the old — the 50-year-old tree canopy — with natural materials arranged to evoke an Asian garden and provide a striking yet functional outdoor living space for the homeowners.
Highlights of the project include the rock-edged pool with a massive, custom-bored boulder as a garden focal point and swimming pool spillway; a wood-crafted tea house/shade structure; an outdoor kitchen; plants selected for spring blooms and year-round color and texture; and a variety of stones for the pool, walkways and dry riverbeds.