Every landscape client is important at Neave, and every project is an opportunity for us to shine. But when your client is the CEO’s next-door neighbor, “customer satisfaction” takes on a whole new meaning.
We joke, of course. But this project was extra special: It just so happens that we got both a huge challenge and a tremendous opportunity when David Munoz, Scott Neave’s neighbor in beautiful Croton-on-Hudson, hired us to transform the oversize lot of his newly constructed home.
It all started in 2009 with a broad idea: David wanted to create a lush resort feel in the middle of his picturesque village. Croton-on-Hudson is actually quite the historic area; just across the street from the Munoz’ house is the original site of the Hudson Institute, an American think-tank founded in 1961 and now located in Washington, D.C.
The four-story house was finished before we began and a beautiful pool already sited, so we had a few constraints to work with (or around) already. In addition to the structural elements, we also had heavily wooded areas that needed to be cleared and some drainage issues to contend with.
The project took a year to complete – and six months of that was just planning. We began with a circle theme to create a resort feel.
A gorgeous wooden deck extends from the kitchen and along the back of the house, creating a smooth transition between the indoor and outdoor living spaces. (The family does a lot of entertaining, so it was absolutely essential to have a lot of room for that.)
A short flight of stairs leads to a circular stone patio outfitted with a top-of-the-line stainless-steel grill, followed by two more steps and another raised stone patio that forms a semicircle and lines up with the house’s basement.
The stone played a huge part in the design of this hardscape: The house’s exterior is a mix of siding and stone, and David wanted a patio that echoed those stone accents. He selected a gorgeous Chinese granite in various neutral shades, all bordered with a great bluestone to tie it all together. There was a lot of cutting and fitting and stone laying involved â€” definitely part of the long process involved in finishing this project â€” but it was absolutely worth it for that striking effect it achieved.
Then, because the pool was set in stone (so to speak) before we got started, we had to create a ground-level patio area that spans the distance between the house and the pool for a cohesive feel.
Of course, no luxurious resort would be complete without two other factors: lush hues and plenty of privacy. The plants we selected to color the landscape offer a little of both: a variety of roses delight the senses throughout the warm season, with plants around the pool selected for their fragrance, spruces and other evergreens that will grow to a rich woodsy barrier â€” backed by an elegant black-and-bronze aluminum fence that will be covered by the trees in just a few years’ time.
The finishing touch was a smattering of hydrangea plantings here and there–a special request from the family. Limelight Hydrangea is one of our favorites, blooming in sprays of green in summer and changing to pink as the weather cools.
Now the Munoz family really does have its own resort: a gorgeous place to live, an area to entertain and even a spot to swim and cool off in the summer’s searing heat.
But here’s the best part of this project, at least from our perspective: We had the opportunity for not one but TWO very happy clients! The next design we did was right next door–our chance to create a design that didn’t match the Munoz’ but provided a perfect complement that made this gorgeous neighborhood even more beautiful!
If the project here has inspired you, why not start to plan your own? Get in touch with the landscape design professionals at Neave Group Outdoor Solutions — we can help you create an outdoor living space that suits your needs and desires, too. From the Hudson Valley, call (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, dial (914) 271-7996, and if you’re in Connecticut, call us at (203) 212-4800. You can also fill out the web form to have us get in touch with you.
And if you’re looking for more landscape planning tips, download our free Landscape Planning Guide!