Water-Focused Landscape Design Sets Private, Spiritual Tone at Beachfront Home

Award-winning landscape architect David Young uses water gardens and native plants to restore order and create serenity at an estate on the Gulf of Mexico.

Reflecting Pool in Front of Modern Estate

Reflecting Pool and Cube In Front of Modern Oceanfront Estate

The reflecting pool at the entrance of the estate is an attractive, tranquil water feature that matches the clean lines of the home's architecture.

Photo by: Ryan Gamma

Ryan Gamma

With wall-to-wall windows, an expansive deck and sleek architectural designs, the Aquadisia estate on Florida's Siesta Key was designed to celebrate breathtaking views of its 200-foot Gulf Coast shoreline.

But after years of neglect, the vistas took a backseat to the property's, overgrown and incoherent landscaping.

"The owner loved the clean lines of the modern residence, views to the gulf and serenity of the coastal property but desired a fresh landscape focused on entertaining and water," says David Young, principal of DWY Landscape Architects in Sarasota, Fla.

Aquadisia- Guy Peterson, Michael Saunders, DWY Landscape

Aquadisia- Guy Peterson, Michael Saunders, DWY Landscape

Photo by: Ryan Gamma

Ryan Gamma

Tasked with reviving the property, Young, winner of the 2016 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards, took cues from his client's spiritual nature to create harmonious relationships among the disparate elements of the estate.

"The owner's strong sense of privacy and spirituality provided inspiration for developing defined spaces within the garden -- each with a distinct purpose, but all linked by water," he says.

Outdoor Space with Water Features and Glass Cube Structure

Glass Cube Front Entry and Reflecting Pool

Guests enter the home by passing over water features and walking through the glass cube. This space is designed to create a moment of solace before approaching the front door.

Photo by: Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson

Young framed the footprint of the home with a water garden that sets a serene tone upon arriving at Aquadisia. Walkways bisect the infinity-style pools, inviting visitors to move through the garden as if they are floating on top of the water. 

These water-trimmed walkways guide visitors through an open glass cube flanked by a pair of solid marble Chinese foo dog statues. The vignette serves as a tranquil threshold to the home and an opportunity to pause for reflection.

White Sofa in Room with Glass Walls and Ocean View

View of Ocean From Modern Interior Office Space

This modern office space offers an amazing ocean view. The glass walls let in ample natural light giving the space a wide open feeling.

Photo by: Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson

To the left of the cube's exit are the indoor/outdoor entertaining-focused spaces. A glass-enclosed room makes use of what was once dead space beneath the home, which is raised on stilts to withstand aggressive storms.

Another pool surrounds the room's exterior, and shell-top concrete pads lure guests back outside to the nearby sunken spa and fire pit and glass-clad waterwall. The back patio area enjoys sweeping views of the private coastline.

Labyrinth Surrounded by Bamboo and Palm Trees

Labyrinth Surrounded by Bamboo and Palm Trees

The labyrinth space is encompassed within bamboo walls for privacy.

Photo by: Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson

To the right of the entrance cube are more intimate zones designed for relaxation and reflection. A tranquil labyrinth garden and adjacent pool are surrounded by parsons benches, inviting contemplation through either movement or rest.

Overlooking the labyrinth is another glass-enclosed room, a spa featuring a sauna and space for a massage table. Outside the spa's walls, a length of dwarf Buddha belly bamboo creates a natural privacy screen between the room and the more public areas of the property.

"A design was developed that respected the clean lines and pronounced grid of the existing home while maintaining a sense of balance between the architecture and the extraordinary natural setting," Young says.

In clearing the property of invasive exotic plants, Young now had a blank slate on which he could use native Florida species to define the distinct spaces, create additional privacy elements and appropriately frame the panoramic views enjoyed throughout the home -- especially from the upper deck.

Outdoor Spa Tub on Deck With Ocean View

Spa Tub on Deck With Ocean View

Relax in this spa tub while soaking in the rays and amazing ocean view.

Photo by: Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson

Young's team extended the existing second-story deck and added a slot-edge hot tub outside the master suite with unobstructed views of the ocean. A crow's nest tower offers a chance to enjoy the crashes of the waves and swaying of the property's palms, which aid in screening Aquadisia from surrounding properties in addition to adding a sense of movement. 

"The homeowner wanted to create a sanctuary that was designed specifically for the way they lived," Young says. "Of importance was the idea of water as connectivity of the architecture and site, privacy, minimalism and experiential components that would provide enjoyment and wonder throughout the day."

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David Young

David Young

Contact Me
DWY Landscape Architects
dwyla.com/ AIA, ASLA 300 South Orange Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236 941-365-6530