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HGTV Dream Home 2005: Landscape

For HGTV Dream Home 2005, the landscape architect turned the land of this lakeside home into an outdoor oasis.

In the outdoor dining room, an arbor that will be draped in wisteria helps provide a little privacy from boat traffic. For much more information on construction of the home--outside and in.

The Dream Home 2005 landscape includes, among other things, a workout pool and a killer view of the lake. Find out how landscape architect Alan King created outdoor living areas that make the most of an already beautiful setting.

"I want the winner of this house to be able to come out on the terrace or be out in the landscape and not feel that it’s overwhelming to maintain," says Alan King, landscape architect of HGTV Dream Home 2005.

How can a landscape be both grand and low-maintenance? With the help of a tough, slow-growing turfgrass and a carefree rose that blooms from late spring till frost. That's just for starters.

The new Texas-tall, 6,000-square-foot home sits at the crest of a hill overlooking Lake Tyler in the pinewoods area of east Texas. With the same type of stone and cedar that were used in the house, King extended the living areas into the landscape, creating a design that both ties the home to the land and makes the most of the beautiful views. The large outdoor spaces — welcoming courts (for greeting visitors and seeing them off), terraces and patios — are perfect for relaxing and entertaining. An outdoor dining room, with a fireplace, is given a bit of privacy from lake traffic by an arbor planted with wisteria. A long bench by the pool affords a peaceful place to take in the sunset.

The hardscaping successfully tackled the site's slope. "The front door was about eight feet above the natural grade," says King. "So we created a series of welcoming spaces, and because of the scale of the house, we came out some distance so they didn't feel like an afterthought." The terraces and patios also help tie the house to the land.

The approach to the house comes from a low elevation, so King paid special attention to creating approaches that let the house be revealed in incremental stages. "One of the things I like to do is not just put it all out there for you. This way, you get a little more intrigue with each new view," he says. 

Between the dock and the house, he designed the steps and walkway to render the slope easily accessible. As the design developed, he tried to anticipate the smallest details, such as making it easy for boaters to carry a cooler to and from the house.

Part of the charm and delight of the designed landscape involve positioning traditional hardscaping elements into somewhat novel positions or functions. Instead of putting the spa near the pool, King put it in the home’s breezeway; a view of the lake and a fireplace close by are part of the ambiance. The pool has resistance jets that invigorate a workout. The front welcoming court includes a patio that seems to be the perfect place to have a morning cup of the coffee.

Plantings were carefully selected to provide seasonal color with minimal effort from the homeowner’s part. ‘Knockout’ rose is a tough, trouble-free rose that’s resistant to disease and insects — and it blooms continuously throughout the growing season. Other beautiful but low-maintenance trees, shrubs and perennials include 'Forest Pansy' redbud (Cercis Canadensis), repeat-blooming azaleas, evergreen wisteria and irises.

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