Story Behind The Project: Ithanwilde

From the very first consultation to the final walkthrough, we knew the Ithanwilde project would be a challenging endeavor. But it was also apparent we’d complete it successfully and have a ton of fun in the process. So we jumped right in!

Recommended to Terren via another favorite client of ours, the homeowners at this beautiful Main Line property were a joy to work with. They provided us a lot of freedom with the design, insisting only that we go with a modern approach, incorporate existing curvilinear boulder walls and stay within a color palette based on textural variations among hues of green. Outside of those considerations, we were provided the freedom to roam with a variety of muses. Suggestions for various interesting materials like COR-TEN steel, travertine, and natural stone were floated around for use in design features big and small. The plant selection featured a mix of native and exotic possibilities, which we later narrowed down to a perfect mix for the property.

For the hardscapes, it was ultimately decided that new construction would simply tie into the pre-existing stone wall with matching materials, creating new lines and spaces with careful extensions of what was already there. The pool coping and patio were the exception, instead completed with the aforementioned travertine, a material chosen for its aesthetic appeal as well as its non-slip and heat-resistant characteristics—essential qualities for a pool area material. (All this, of course, after the pool was brought up to current safety standards and fully renovated by a subcontracted expert!)

Meanwhile, the independent porch structure design was developed by an architect and builder who worked with us to incorporate materials already chosen for the exterior, so that an effective balance could be maintained inside and out. The interior walls of that structure went on to serve as partial retaining walls. And the floor became a continuation of the non-slip travertine used around the pool and patio, although a wet lay installation was chosen in this area.

The yard renovation was the final piece of the puzzle and a huge success, due in part to the great plant selection. For this, we used native prairie dropseed (sporobolus heterolepis) alongside non-native (but appropriately contained) black bamboo. The transition from yard to pool area also benefited from the native plants and other natural materials, which proved a fitting match to the pre-existing art features already a focus of the area. It took some convincing for the client to approve plant material that would need time to develop and become established before achieving the desired look, but ultimately an agreement was reached and in the end the homeowners were heavily rewarded by their patience.

Overall the entire project was a great success. The spaces for outdoor entertainment, augmented by beautiful landscape lighting and a fire pit, are sure to be used for many years to come. And in that time we’ll enjoy showing it off as a great example of what hard work and collaboration can make happen in the world of landscape design/build.