Poised on the banks of Harness Creek near Annapolis, a once-depleted property now harbors drifts of native grasses and perennials and a dazzling pool and pool house, surrounding a new custom home clad in stone. The three-acre landscape is living proof that man and nature can coexist in harmony. Runoff is filtered through rain gardens that protect the waterway, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. In turn, a planted dune protects the house against flooding when waters rise.
As landscape architect Kevin Campion explains, “It is a great collaboration of two separate ecologies for the mutual benefit of man and nature.”
The project also marked a successful collaboration of the human kind. Following the completion of their client’s new home in 2014 (search “Raw & Refined” on homeanddesign.com), Campion, architect Cathy Purple Cherry, Pyramid Builders and the homeowners turned their attention to the landscape and its exterior structures. The site encompasses four distinct zones: a rain garden and a meadow on the street side, a shoreline garden near the creek and a play garden housing the pool. During the design phase, the owners decided to locate the pool and pool house on the side of the residence. “This way,” explains Purple Cherry, “they’re not front and center in the view during the winter months.”
Her design of the pool house pairs a stone volume housing a bath and changing room with a glass-enclosed “cube” designed for meditative reflection. “We wanted to bring together the emotions of the water, land, sky and vegetation—connecting those things and creating an opportunity for tranquility,” says the architect. Stone walls extending along the far side of the pool enclose a private outdoor shower, conceal pool equipment and screen the property from neighbors.
The pool house connects the upper meadow with the shoreline garden and also relates to the main house with its stone, glass and wood composition. Combining four types of stone, the masonry on the pool complex evokes a rustic, Southwestern sensibility. The random, rugged look was not easy to achieve, says Michael Prokopchak, whose firm, Walnut Hill Landscape Company, installed the stonework. “All four sides of every stone had to be cut and the sharp edges chiseled to give them a more natural look,” he says. “It was a challenge, but the end product is phenomenal.”
In addition, every piece of bluestone in the project—from the pool coping to the diving platforms—had to be carefully sized and custom-cut as no two pieces are the same.
Even greater detail was lavished on a stone focal wall that buttresses the terrace outside the owner’s office in the main residence. A motif on the wall combines Mexican beach-pebble accents around a slab of black granite that Campion and the client hand-picked at a quarry in Upstate New York. A spillway filters water over the walls in two tiers. “Our client is inspired by nature,” says Purple Cherry. “He wanted to open the windows and hear the sound of the water.”
Indeed, water is a thread that runs throughout this project on many levels, says Campion. “We brought water close to the house and created these sensory elements so that while you can see water in the distance, you can hear it in the foreground.”
From the pool, steps lead down the dune, awash in a sea of shrubs, perennials and grasses, to Harness Creek, where the owners dock their yacht. Campion and his team designed “pools of lawn” connected by large beds of native plants, creating a tidewater habitat that reduces water consumption. “There are interesting aesthetics that are low-maintenance and more beautiful than lawn,” he explains. “And we wanted there to be an inextricable connection, so that when you come around the house, the garden just pulls you down
to the water.”
Photographer David Burroughs is based in Annapolis.
ARCHITECTURE: CATHY PURPLE CHERRY, AIA, Purple Cherry Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. BUILDER: BRET ANDERSON, Pyramid Builders, Annapolis, Maryland. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: KEVIN CAMPION, ASLA, principal; KEVIN GAUGHAN, ASLA, project manager, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. MASONRY: MICHAEL PROKOPCHAK, Walnut Hill Landscape Company, Annapolis, Maryland. INTERIOR DESIGN: ARLENE CRITZOS and CATHY BELKOV, Interior Concepts Inc., Annapolis, Maryland.