Ask the Pros: Landscape Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

How do you create a landscape plan that best takes advantage of water views?

A water view is a splendid asset, one that changes seasonally or even hourly. In my plans, I want the water to have the lead role and the landscape design to serve as the supporting cast—both are vital to the story, but the water is the real headliner.

I choose low-maintenance plants that integrate with the home’s architecture and don’t compete with the view. When siting components like fire pits, shade structures or outdoor kitchens, I consider the direction of the prevailing wind, how space will feel in different seasons and whether it will communicate effectively with the water.

A successful waterfront landscape harmonizes with all other features. Stepping outside should feel as delightful as being in any other room in your home. —Jan Kirsh, Jan Kirsh Studio, Bozman, Maryland.

Jan Kirsh landscaped a waterfront property, citing the pool with long views of the Miles River. She installed stonework and planted gardens throughout. A stepping-stone walk flanked by hydrangea leads to the water. Photo © Jan Kirsh Studio.