American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2006 Professional Awards
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Architectural details of the house are pulled out into the crushed granite motor court to produce an integrated landscape with limestone front entry wall framing the view toward the creek, allowing the visitor their first sense of water.  Hardscape paving is intimately detailed to dissipate into the landscape. (Photo by Tim Hursley )

Custom designed copper planters sit opposite the limestone front entry wall. The house itself sits on a plane of crushed granite that also wraps around the residence for circulation. (Photo by Charles David Smith)

A creek view from the dining terrace. The existing woods were carefully edited to push the idea of hard edges meeting the natural landscape. (Photo by Tim Hursley)

The dining terrace is wrapped on two sides by a negative edge fountain. It provides reflection, sound, fun and a bit of danger in its severity. It is a manmade interpretation of the function of the creek. (Photo by Tim Hursley)

The materials used in the fountain and terrace construction are limestone, Almondrillo wood, stainless steel, and stone slate from India.. Their shades are harmonious with the tones of the building materials, the green of the outdoors and once again extend the architecture into the landscape. (Photo by Charles David Smith)

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House by the Creek, Dallas, Texas
MESA, Dallas, Texas

"Very refined. Takes full advantage of the site with transitions from woodland to modern courts. Lovely detailing."

— 2006 Professional Awards Jury Comments

The landscape architecture of the House by the Creek has the strength and thoughtful restraint of the woman who owns it. It is very hard to believe that this house sits one lot away from a busy four-lane street in Highland Park, a township surrounded by the City of Dallas, and still feels so protected and serene.

On a small residential project, the landscape architect’s role is amalgous and shifts from designer to manager, accountant to friend and confident. It is impossible to design with such intimacy without fully understanding the movement of the Client through her home and surroundings. It is her place solely and is deeply appreciated. A comfort line is apparent when studying the placement of the house and its meeting of the landscape. The new construction inches out to the wooded grounds, not because it is timid but because it is aware of its own boundaries marking a point in time. The House by the Creek is a study in subtlety, preservation, limits and is so finely executed that it warrants the label Japanese Garden.  

A strict adherence to edges is apparent when entering the motor court and traveling around and through the house to the creek bed. The detailing of the hard surfaces: terraces, stairs, pools and ledges is so precise that it appears machine made but always has the warmth of rich materials: slate from India, Texas limestone and Almondrillo wood. Even the stainless steel details are as kind as the custom made copper planters.

The landscape architect becomes a great editor when working on a job like this because one misplaced or poorly built detail can ruin the story. It is also testament to the rigors of working with a driven team and a willingness to push aside one’s own ego to understand the ideas of another. 


Project Resources

Architectural Consultant:
Larry Speck, Paige Sutherland Paige

Interior Design Consultant:
Emily Summers Design



The stainless steel edge of the fountain acts as a magnet and holds the water tightly to the lawn. An interior wall of the house was pulled into the terrace as a screen wall and to reinforce the indoor/outdoor relationship.. (Photo by Charles David Smith)

A panel of lawn flows off the terrace and planted steps to form a soft, level lawn space.  A subtle, but strong relationship occurs as this space bends down to the creek and the terrain of the Turtle Creek banks creep up to the residence. (Photo by Charles David Smith)  

View from the creek toward the house. The garden is an interpretation of the natural occurring limestone outcroppings at the creek, and the landscape architect matched the native limestone for this garden. (Photo by Tim Hursley)

A plant palette of understory plantings included: Inland Sea Oats, Turks Cap, Acorus, Fern, Juncus, and Sedges. These plants were selected by the Landscape Architect to imitate what naturally occurs in nature in a gardenesque form.(Photo by Charles David Smith )

The limestone and interplanting at the water’s edge engages the creek.  The editing of the existing canopy introduces dancing light and reflections on the water. The sequence of the landscape allows for human interaction with the fish and waterfowl that inhabit Turtle Creek. (Photo by Charles David Smith)

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