2012 Merit Award
The Belleauwood Courtyard is a creative and environmentally responsible residential design solution that addresses the restraints of a small space with drainage problems.
The site for the project was a compact 70 ‘ x 22 ‘ residential backyard located in a very densely spaced central Louisiana neighborhood. In addition to the challenging size of the space, the site had poor drainage issues. The site was often left covered with standing water for long periods of time following common rain events thus leaving it unused.
The owner wanted to implement a list of program elements including a pool, paved entertaining area, outdoor fireplace, water feature, and a drainage solution. However, the client felt that due to the small area some desired elements would not be possible.
The first approach to transforming this area was to capture the runoff and hold it on site for it to naturally percolate instead of directing it into city drainage. The most efficient way to do this was to create a linear retention area along the rear of the space. The designer chose to make this necessary element an attractive focal point by incorporating the water feature requested by the client. The bio retention area and the water feature were seamlessly combined by planting the retention area with Equisetum. Projecting through the Equisetum plantings are nine stainless steel scuppers which pour water into a river rock trough below. Water then travels down the trough and ultimately spills into the spa and pool at the far left of the courtyard. These scuppers have the appearance of growing directly out of the planted bio-retention area. The decision to pull these two systems together resulted in a beautiful water feature that runs the entire length of the space.
At the far right of the courtyard directly opposite of the pool is a garden room with an outdoor fireplace and comfortable teak wood furnishings. This entertaining area met the clients need for additional seating and also extended the use of the courtyard into the winter months. Dense plantings of Parasol trees provide privacy and definition of this garden room.
In the center of the courtyard is the lounge area for the pool. This area is connected to the garden room and pool by brick paving. The brick paving is broken up by a pattern of 4 inch gaps planted with groundcover. Below these paving gaps is a gravel system that directs the captured runoff back to the retention area at rear of space. Again, providing a creative yet environmentally responsible solution to the handling of runoff within the site.
The overall project resulted in a useful and beautiful series of garden rooms. To the clients amazement their once unused space had been transformed into an area that contained a dip pool with spa, a lounge area, and an outdoor seating area with fireplace. All these elements are connected by an attractive yet environmentally conscience design feature that resolves the issue of poor drainage within a small space.