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Publication Date: 2013-06-10

Design Insights

Waterside Retreats: It's Elemental

Landscape Designer Edmund Hollander shares his strategies for designing waterfront landscapes with ELLE DECOR’s Ingrid Abramovitch.

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Landscape by: Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects

Q: What’s your starting point for creating an outdoor scheme for a house by the water?

A: We try to take advantage of views but also respect salt winds, tides, and water tables. In terms of the design, I like to give a family a diversity of areas for gathering, dining, and relaxing. Pools and terraces overlooking the water are lovely, but don’t forget to provide spaces that offer protection from sun, wind, and glare.

Q: Are you seeing any trends?

A: There is a greater desire to simplify life. Elaborate, high-maintenance schemes are being replaced by landscapes that are easier to care for and more ecologically appropriate.

Q: How do you mitigate for powerful seaside weather patterns?

A: We try to design in ways that are structurally sound and to select plant materials that are tolerant of saline environments. We are using smaller trees and plantings to allow them to become better acclimated to the environmental stresses found in these habitats. But you are never immune to the force of Mother Nature’s most powerful storms. “Respect” and “resilience” are the watchwords today.

Q: What type of swimming pool do you prefer?

A: Saltwater. There is no chlorine smell and your skin feels like silk.

Q: Which architectural materials hold up best in a waterside location?

A: Several types of limestone are tolerant of frost but may break down in a seaside environment due to wind-blown salt. I frequently use sandstone. It feels great near the beach and the colors blend well. For decks and boardwalks, we often use sustainably grown ipe, which weathers to a beautiful silver-gray and never rots, warps, or breaks.

Q: Which plants thrive by the water?

A: I recommend doing a careful study of what is growing in the immediate vicinity. We do this whether we’re working along the coast of Long Island, in the Bahamas, or even in China.

Landscape by: Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects

Below we feature an exquisite Great Gatsby-inspired garden created by Hollander for a house in Bridgehampton designed by Timothy Haynes and Kevin Roberts of Haynes-Roberts. The home and garden appeared on the cover of ELLE DECOR’s June issue.

Gatsby Garden - Sunken Pool Garden

Gatsby Garden - Sunken Pool Garden at Night

Gatsby Garden - Drive Entry

Gatsby Garden - Existing Plane Tree at the Living Room Terrace

Living Room View

Bedroom View

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