A Shore Thing

AUTHOR: Jodie Jones | January 2021 | PHOTOGRAPHS: Steve Dubinsky | GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL | PDF Version

US-based landscape designer Paul Broadhurst has long advocated the value of shoreline restoration. Removing man-made bulkheads, and reinstating living edges leads to “a better collaboration between nature and human recreation,” he says. “A more gentle slope from land to water allows erosive wave energy to be attenuated and, with planted edges, acts as its own defence against erosion while providing important habitats for fish and wildlife.” These principles underpin his design for the Lakeside Residence in the Pacific North West.
The ecological restoration was his primary design imperative, but there were bureaucratic hoops to jump through. “The authorities are wary of homeowners making a ‘land grab’ to enlarge their waterfront properties. They are also concerned with ecological sustainability. There are designated ‘fish windows’ when water work can occur without impacting on fish reproduction, and we have to detail pebble sizes with a graduation of smooth stones so that spawning fish don’t scratch their bellies. But some armouring might also be required, whether with logs stapled into the substrate or placement of large rocks, when we have to carefully consider the angle of repose, bearing in mind prevailing winds, currents and wave action related to boat traffic.”
Uniting the 1970s Modernist remodelled house with its relaxed setting called for a descending hierarchy of design that was carefully calibrated, although in places Broadhurst intentionally juxtaposed the built with the natural. “There is a ‘window’, or void space, by the front door which brings concrete walls together with ferns and water (pictured). Similarly, at the shoreline, part of the bulkhead was purposely retained and clad in Modernist concrete panels, playfully engaging with the natural elements.” ‘Milestone’ hardscape blocks were used to extend the architecture out into the landscape, mimicked and complemented by large rocks, which follow the new watercourse feature, leading the eye down to the shoreline.
In every aspect, the design sets out engage the Lakeside residents with their surroundings. “They were so charmed by the watercourse that crossing it via the wood and stainless-steel footbridge has become their favourite way to enter the house.” The new pebble beach is an excellent launch site for kayaks and paddleboards, and the slim wood and steel deck overlooking the water’s edge is now a favourite spot for relaxation. We mass planted around this deck with California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica) which is intensely favoured by rufous hummingbirds, and now the antics of these tiny birds have become a cherished summer memory.”