The Citrus Avenue Residence by DWY Landscape Architects

The Citrus Avenue Residence by DWY Landscape Architects

Image: Ryan Gamma

In a long list of pandemic-induced shutdowns, here’s an especially disappointing one for people like me who love to garden. Late last March the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that “educates and engages the public to make our shared landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards,” was set to bring its 2020 Gardens Dialogue tour to Sarasota to visit four spectacular private gardens the average Joe or Jane would never get to otherwise experience. One was designed by landscape architect Michael Gilkey; three were designed by landscape architect David Young of DWY Landscape Architects. Since the shutdown meant you couldn’t wander through these gardens in person, we decided to bring them to you here.

Citrus Avenue Residence

DWY Landscape Architects

A lush line of palms screens this modern new home (above) on a side street in the West of Trail Bungalow Hill neighborhood, from busy Bahia Vista Street. The bubble gum-pink wall at the lap pool’s edge was inspired by the late great Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s use of bold colors to reflect the tropical landscape. It cleverly contains a fountain that creates white noise to mitigate street sounds. The landscape architect also installed wonderfully sculptural trees around the property that can be enjoyed through the home’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls: a curved coconut palm that sweeps sightlines toward the pool, an oil palm, a silver buttonwood and a screw pine. “Each of these elements was selected to shape the experience and highlight the architecture of the planting itself,” says David Young. The project was a finalist for a 2018 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Award and won a 2018 FLASLA (Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects) Award of Honor.

South Warbler Lane residence

South Warbler Lane residence

Image: Greg Wilson

South Warbler Lane Residence

DWY Landscape Architects

This project for a nature-loving couple who undertook a complete modernization of their bayfront home, completed in two phases, yielded a lap pool, a pergola surrounded by a water garden, an intimate sculpture garden and ribbons of grass that run through the motor court and transition into narrow channels framing the water garden. “The seasonal homeowners desired a means to experience the outdoors and the natural amenity of the water as part of their daily routine,” Young told the Cultural Landscape Foundation. Eco-smart underdrains collect roof runoff into a 6,000-gallon cistern. “The system is sized so that the irrigation system always runs on collected rainwater, netting a zero draw on the municipal water system for irrigation, and negligible impact on the stormwater system from runoff,” Young says. The project won two FLASLA awards: an Award of Merit in 2012 for phase one, and an Award of Honor in 2018 for phase two.

Urban modern retreat by Michael A. Gilkey

Urban modern retreat by Michael A. Gilkey

Urban Modern Retreat

Michael A. Gilkey

This project started with a critical objective: the preservation of two monumental trees—an old-growth banyan and a grand live oak—”irreplaceable canopies and complementary screening [that] afford privacy from the busy adjacent street,” says landscape architect Michael Gilkey. Gilkey designed a curvilinear sculpture garden to contrast with the home’s strong architectural lines. Sea grapes were planted next to the pool to provide more privacy and “a soft backdrop” for the surrounding decks. There is an event lawn, a pollination garden, a bird garden with a preserved lychee tree and a bocce court. “We are grateful to have been part of such a beautiful play of interior and exterior, structure and nature, and light and shadow,” Gilkey says. He has been notified that he will be winning a 2020 Design Award for the Urban Modern Retreat from the FLASLA at its November convention.

Mourning Dove Drive residence

Mourning Dove Drive residence

Mourning Dove Drive Residence

DWY Landscape Architects

More than a decade ago, David Young completed the initial landscape design of this bayfront residence on Bird Key. When new owners purchased the house, he was brought back in recently to update it and to add some of the design elements that were cut from the original plan due to budgetary constraints—a square reflecting pool in the front courtyard, for example, says fellow landscape architect Krystyna Sznurkowski. “The pool area planting is spare and minimal with a focus on simple elements and, of course, the bay view,” she says.  “A 30-foot tall, curved coconut palm projects over the pool, and a sunken seating area with a fire table and bench that ties in with the front gate create the feeling of tropical retreat. Shadows created by the palm fronds dance on the pool waters, providing visual interest on the ground level. From the living space above, the large palm adds interest to the expansive water views beyond by day and sets a dreamy mood with low-voltage lighting at night.”

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