When Design + Nature Fuse: The Harmonious Blend that Breathes Life into Outdoor Spaces
With as many gorgeous, sun-filled days as we find ourselves with in the Valley, it’s no wonder that homeowners’ outdoor spaces are garnering as much thought and attention as the interiors of the home. From a visually pleasing curbside view, to multiple specialty spaces for relaxing and entertaining, the work of a talented landscape architect is as crucial to a project as the plan and design of the home itself.
Russell Greey, Landscape Architect and Design Principal with Greey |Pickett in Scottsdale describes the role of his design in any residential or commercial project. “Our mission is to make the outdoor spaces seamless with the architecture of the home. The landscape architect is just one leg of the theoretical three-legged stool in design. The building architect, the interior designer and the landscape architect all collaborate to create a harmonious and holistic aesthetic,” he says.
With a successful career spanning over 30 years, and a reputation for creating timeless environments that are both detailed and sustainable, Greey’s experience and expertise are constantly called upon by industry partners and homeowners themselves. “The evolution from a blank piece of paper to a successful project always give me great fulfillment. We’re 100% in it; delivering smart, nuanced, logical and artistic design concepts and solutions that exceed everyone’s expectations,” he beams.
Greey approaches any project – no matter the size or style – by gathering insight from the clients, and inspiration from nature. Whether he’s working on a lush Mediterranean-style garden, or a sleek and airy contemporary space, Greey’s design choices always complement the architecture of the home and with deference to the site and land.
“A lot of the projects I’m working on recently are redoing heavy Tuscan or adobe-style spaces. From Scottsdale, to Arcadia, to Paradise Valley, I’m seeing modern, contemporary, French country and even Santa Barbara as the most popular styles homeowners are asking for,” explains Greey.
The property detailed on the pages here is a contemporary home in DC Ranch that needed a renovation of its traditional landscape into a contemporary garden. “Contemporary design tends to be simplified and airy, with linear lines and cleaner details,” explains Greey. “I can create a rhythm with very textural plants. I’ll play with patterning, shadows, sleek details like beds of stones, grid patterns, innovative materials and harder edges.
“Optimizing guest gathering places was important to this client who entertains regularly,” notes Greey. “While adding a guest addition to the home, the front auto court and courtyard were removed. I took advantage of this newly-renovated front entry space to utilize it for entertaining,” he adds.
In striving to meet the desires of the homeowner, Greey planned several different areas around the home that would encourage congregating and socializing. An intimate fire pit with spacious seating in the front, a private dining area off of the kitchen, a seamless indoor-outdoor flow from the home into the covered outdoor living room, and an expansive banco and oversized fire pit on the far side of the backyard pool to take advantage of the stunning golf course and mountain views.
When embarking upon a design project, Greey’s first step is to meet with the client and gain a full understanding of what the client is looking for. “I start with asking how they are going to use the house, then I work with their wish list of how they want to live,” he says.
Understanding the intricacies of the site are just as important. “I’m considering any sloping and irrigation. My design will be influenced by the topography, the views, and how the outdoor ‘rooms’ will cohesively meld into the footprint of the home,” he continues.
A truly great landscape design mixes proportion, lines of sight and a carefully selected collection of elements that combine to create a space that is at once pleasing to the eyes while instantly delivering a soothing ambiance. Designed with skill, these spaces lift spirits and enhance moods. “My gift to the project is that you can’t necessarily put your finger on why you love it – you just know that you do!” smiles Greey.