Site Engineering Is Priority #1

You can be the most creative landscape designer, but if site engineering is not considered in your design solutions you may be in for trouble.

There is a critical relationship between every aspect of the landscape design, especially site engineering.

For example, elevations of structures and grades determine drainage, which ultimately determines how water moves (or doesn’t move) on the property. This affects everything, including plant health.

Site engineering is so important there is a separate profession (civil engineer) dedicated to it.

The Project

It was very important in this project to be constantly aware of elevations due to the construction features and drainage challenges.

For example, the finished height of the refurbished tennis court would dictate the floor height of the proposed cabana. How the surface between the tennis court and cabana would drain was a major consideration.


In the picture above you can see a white outline and ribbon. This represents the location for the cabana, which will sit next to the tennis court.

We oriented the layout of the cabana to be slightly angled to the court. It looked less contrived and would allow an open and welcoming patio area.

The homeowners wanted the cabana to have certain amenities because this part of the yard was a considerable distance from the house.

The various pipes and conduits you see sticking up out of the concrete floor will supply the cabana’s small bathroom and kitchenette with the necessary utilities.

With the heavy excavation and demolition work done, the builder was ready to start framing the cabana.

Meanwhile, the tennis court contractor installed the new surface while the stone setters built the lower retaining wall.

Notice the large stone slab-steps leading up to the cabana.

Their width and mass helped to anchor the cabana to this lower level of the property.  This area is specified to be a large, grass playfield.

All the elements are fitting together as planned. For the first time since the project started, a sense of structure and composition could be felt.

Sometimes it has to look a little chaotic before it can start to take shape.

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