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7 Examples of Incorporating Personal Style & Preferences into Landscape Design

Posted On: February 27,2018 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Landscape design in Lancaster, PANo matter what type of landscape design you are investing in, chances are you want something completely unique. A cookie-cutter backyard that looks like everyone else's on the block just won’t do. In fact, you’d love to incorporate some of your own personal style and preferences into the project to make it truly your own.

While an ordinary landscape contractor might point you toward standard design ideas that they’ve used many times, you want creative, out-of-the-box solutions, and a landscape design company that can handle them. Finding a landscape designer who can take your ideas and run—turning them into something spectacular and truly unique, is what it’s going to take.

Here are seven examples of homeowners in Lancaster, Reading, and York, PA that found that type of solution.

1. A One-of-a-Kind Complementing Pergola

This family had just built a brand-new timber frame home that painstakingly incorporated detailed tapered posts into their front porch design. So, when it came time to create a landscape design for their new backyard, we suggested that they use timber frame to create a pergola that would mimic the look of the front porch.

timber frame pergola landscape design

In order to achieve a unified look between the front yard and the back, Earth, Turf, & Wood worked with a local timber frame company to ensure that the two spaces had a cohesive feel. The result was a timber frame pergola that the family adored.

2. Including Personalized Details with Walls & Water Features

Sometimes homeowners have personal interests or hobbies that we can actually incorporate into a landscape design. That is the case for this example (as well as the next). This particular homeowner loved the fleur-de-lis symbol.

illuminated rock waterfall landscape

Knowing that, we were able to incorporate the symbol into their design with a unique water feature. In this pondless waterfall, water trickles over natural stone tile behind the fleur-de-lis. It’s illuminated with energy efficient LED landscape lighting so that the feature can also be enjoyed in the evening hours.

3. Personal Design Touches with Pool Design

Here is another great example of incorporating a personal design detail into the landscape. In this particular case, the homeowner was a big game hunter. That’s why we incorporated some lion medallion water fountains into the side of the pool.

lion water fountain in pool

Situated along the pool edge, along with a sheer descent water feature, the lions add a very personalized touch to the pool that truly makes it his own.

4. Using Both Spouses’ Ideas in Pool & Patio Design

It’s not uncommon for us to work for homeowners who have very different style preferences. While it’s been said that you “can’t make everyone happy,” we beg to differ.

unique pool design in pennsylvania

With some creativity and a bit of out-of-the-box thinking, we were able to create a pool design for two homeowners—one who loved a curvilinear look and one who preferred straight lines. In the end, both were pleased with the look of the pool despite their very different tastes in style and design.

5. Incorporating Architectural Preferences

Oftentimes homeowners have architectural preferences that are reflected in the details of their home. That was the case for these homeowners, who preferred a Mission style look (also known as “Arts and Crafts” style) to their home. It’s an architectural style that originated in the late 19th century and is characterized as simple, casual, and comfortable. It features geometric lines and flat panels and it celebrates the beauty of wood grain.

mission style pergola design

They had recently finished updating their home in a Mission style, which is why we came up with the idea to create a pergola in the same architectural style. The homeowners also had very specific requests in that they desired a lot of shade but they wanted to be able to see the stars. Paying close attention to the positioning of the pergola, we were able to achieve those personal preferences. Now, when you look up through the slats of the pergola, you can enjoy the beauty of the night sky. But in the daytime hours, the bright sunlight is perfectly filtered.

6. Fulfilling Specific Requests for Gates & Pillars

These days most people like to browse websites and magazines to seek out styles and designs that they love. While these are usually general ideas, sometimes we get homeowners that come to us with a very specific request of something they’d like incorporated into their landscape design.

gate design residential landscape

That was the case for this homeowner, who had seen a photograph of a gate at the Philadelphia Flower Show and wanted something almost identical to be incorporated into their design. We were able to create something that mimicked the photo with this beautiful gate.


7. Materials Matter in a Unique Patio Design

Just as homeowners sometimes have style preferences, it’s not uncommon for them to have material preferences for their patio design. That was the case for these homeowners, that had a unique home design in that it had a very interesting blend of materials—some stucco, some brick, and some stone. That unique dichotomy came about as the original farmhouse was added onto many times over the years and the homeowners absolutely loved the original look it gave their property.

unique pool patio and fountain design

So, we incorporated something similar in the pool patio design. We worked a variety of materials into the project to give in a unique but complementary look to the home.

A Landscape Design That is Truly Yours

Let’s be honest. A lot of landscape contractors are known for creating the same designs again and again. That’s why you can sometimes go to friends’ homes and see the exact same kidney bean shaped patio time after time. Or, maybe it’s even a particular, unoriginal element of the landscape design overall. Sometimes, a contractor gets comfortable building an outdoor fireplace a certain way and continues to steer future clients in that same direction.

Landscape designer Lancaster, PAIt comes down to this important point. You can hire a typical landscaping contractor and have a backyard like everyone else’s, or you can hire an exceptional landscape designer and be able to create an outdoor living area that fulfills your dreams.

We know that you may have some great ideas that you want to incorporate into your backyard. You just need a landscape contractor that will take not only take them seriously, but will have the capacity to bring them to life.  

At Earth, Turf, & Wood, we are accustomed to taking very specific and personalized ideas and making them a reality. No two projects of ours are ever alike as we work with each homeowner to create a custom outdoor living area based on their specific wants and needs. If that’s the kind of project that you had in mind, then we invite you to let us show you how we can work together to make it possible.

If you’d like to discuss bringing your personal landscape design to life for your Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home, then contact us for a free consultation and get ready to see your dream become a reality.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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Serving Southeast Pennsylvania including: Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas.