Modern Italian Landscape

This project was a challenging yet rewarding landscape renovation to be a part of. When the client first contacted us, she had the home for sale for quite some time. While home was beautiful and well kept, buyers were less interested in Italian-style homes. The client needed experts to help redesign the landscape in order to improve curb appeal. Keep reading to find out how we created this modern Italian landscape.

Home Trends in Austin

Italian and Tuscan architecture was a popular style of residential architecture in Austin throughout the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Their hallmark tile roofs, stucco, cast stone and wrought iron details can be seen throughout the Austin area. While many homeowners still appreciate this style, many are looking for something different. Within the last few years, various forms of modern architecture have become en vogue in Austin. Judging by the projects we are seeing, the style is here to stay for a while. As a result, many homeowners and sellers are looking for ways to modernize their landscapes.


Italian Landscape to Modern Landscape

Modernism typically features clean lines, less ornamentation, and a higher degree of focus on function rather than aesthetics. The ornamented Gothic windows, tile roofs and carved stone of Italian and Tuscan homes are nearly at odds with what many would consider modern architecture. Italian landscapes often have a wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, often organized into highly detailed, geometric gardens. Heavily ornamented and detailed cast stone fountains and water features were prevalent as well. When implemented, the scales of features were often either too large or too small. This often lead to landscapes that are out of balance and almost a caricature of the style. All of these factors make the modernization of Italian-style landscapes challenging.


Initial Impressions and Landscape Goals

One of the first things we noticed about the property on our first meeting was the water feature on the motor court. It was very large, leaking, and obscuring the view of the entry from the gate. The prominence of the fountain frequently pulled our eyes towards it, rather than to the home. In discussing the landscape renovation with the client, we decided that the fountain would need an overhaul. As we walked through the expansive estate, we addressed various issues with the landscape and how they could be updated. We decided to remove the old shrubs that could no longer be maintained and simplify the overall planting plan. Due to the lack of structure and focus in the landscape, we decided to create secondary garden focal points as well. We also addressed the need for low maintenance and longevity since the goal was to sell property.


A Modern Italian Landscape

In our design, we decided for both budget and aesthetic reasons to completely remove the fountain. In its place, we installed circular bed of flowers at the center of the driveway circle. Surrounding it, we used planted, modern urns and modern lighting bollards as accents. We used these elements to bridge the Italian and contemporary styles without being too forceful. Around the house, we redesigned the planting by adding evergreen shrubs, urns and additional aggregates. To the left of the entry, we completely removed the existing plants to highlight the windows. In their place, we added latices and a pad for sculpture since that was an interest to the current owner. Overall, we believe we were successful in the renovation and the owner had renewed interest in the property!