Landscape Architecture by Northland Design Group, Inc., Provo, Utah
The client purchased this property with the idea to save a historic building on the property, Riverton's oldest schoolhouse, circa 1880s (insert). When portions of the old adobe collapsed in 2007, the owner decided to restore the schoolhouse and along side it construct a new home for the family. The original exterior bricks, interior adobe bricks, foundation stone and wood timbers from the old schoolhouse were reused in the new home and landscape.
Flanking the historic schoolhouse marker are "Sargent Tina' crabapples. The home's large and inviting front porch and walkway offers the Heritage Rose Garden of "Morden Sunrise', "Bonica Meidiland' and "Knock-out' rose varieties. The tree (left) is an "Autumn Purple' ash.
Riverton, Utah (pop. 38,753), 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, is the location of this featured home. This site used to house Riverton's oldest schoolhouse and building (circa 1880s). During nearly three decades, beginning around the turn of the 20th century, the schoolhouse also became a community-gathering place, a local for church services, town meetings and social events.
The direct descendants of the client built the schoolhouse. The client purchased the property with the idea to save the historic building. Portions of the old adobe building, however, collapsed in 2007. The owner decided to restore the remaining portions of the schoolhouse and construct a new home for his family. Original exterior bricks, interior adobe bricks, foundation stone and wood timbers were reused in the new home and landscape.
The visitor is guided into the back yard of the Riverton, Utah legacy home by a decorative lamppost and luminaire (FX Luminaire). The stone seat benches surrounding the movable fire pit are veneered with the original rock from the school's foundation (inset). Around the portable fire pit (purchased by client) is local crushed limestone integrated with a natural soil binder. To the right of the lamppost are "May Night' salvia and "Red Meiland' roses.
The project sought to connect the owner's family to their ancestors, and the new site to the old. The landscape architect designed the site to reflect the period style landscape, while maintaining a flare for the client's modern lifestyle.
Northland Design Group's role was concept and master planning; construction documentation; materials selection; progress/postconstruction evaluation; and coordinating with Greg Steffensen, the project architect (Bountiful, Utah), Magleby Construction (Lindon, Utah), the home builder, and Stratton Bratt, the landscape contractor (Pleasant Grove, Utah).
Reuse of original materials from the site included foundation rock, interior adobe and exterior brick from the original schoolhouse. The backyard brick fireplace, custom designed by Northland Design Group, replicates details from the home's chimney as well as the historic teardrop brick patterns around the old school house windows. New brick, blended for architectural character, was provided by Beehive Brick. The fireplace base is constructed of a mix of limestone and sandstone with a sandblasted finish. The capstone is locally quarried Quarzitic sandstone, which is on the ground plane leading up to the fireplace. The blue flowering plant is a "Rose of Sharon'; "Kwanzan' cherry trees flank the fireplace.
Visitors to the site are immediately struck by the strong connection between the home's rich architectural style and the carefully planned and scaled landscape elements and spaces. This was the largest challenge for the project, not letting the landscape take away from the home, but to appropriately showcase it and draw attention to important details.
The landscape architect, in close coordination with the architect, designed the layout of the large front porch, which acts as a connection between the home and the landscape. The porch's support posts and surface materials were designed as a space where the family would enjoy sitting on hanging swings and welcoming guests and family. The swings have a lot of miles on them, and the site has many visitors.
The home design called for a creative design solution for the driveway. The desire was to minimize the presence of hardscapes that were not present when the site was originally built. The solution was a carriage path driveway designed by the landscape architects in careful coordination with the architect of the new attached and detached garages to create a distinctive auto court. Kwanzan cherry trees are positioned on either side of the carriageway. Structural soil was specified around and between the carriage path drive to ensure a stable surface for driving. Such soil not only helps support the weight of vehicles, but maintains a good soil environment for root establishment. Quarzitic sandstone pedestals support the wrought iron fencing. Black-eyed Susans and "Pardon Me' Daylilies are among the welcoming plants.
The historic home design called for a creative solution for the driveway. The design needed to minimize hardscapes, as they were not present around the original schoolhouse. A carriage path driveway was designed by the landscape architects after careful coordination with the architect of the new attached and detached garages to create an appealing auto court. Structural soil (Utelite) was specified around and between the carriage path drive to ensure a stable driving surface. It was the goal of the landscape architect to create a memorable driveway and auto court.
The original schoolhouse was located on the north side of the newly constructed home. The landscape architect needed to showcase the schoolhouse in a way that complemented the new home, while not dominating the front yard. Northland's landscape architects carefully designed and placed a heritage rose garden that nudges the visitor's attention to the smaller school house structure, while providing an appropriate edge to the new home's front yard.
Crushed limestone paths mixed with stabilizer connect the site. The stabilizer binds the stone, providing a rich walking experience into the back yard and through the rustic stonewalls and iron gates. The family gathering space is warmly lit with a lamppost, a moveable fire feature and presents colorful flowerbeds. The stone seat benches are rock from the 1880 structure; the original adobe bricks were used as part of the base for the benches.
The planting bed along the stone seatwall, separated form the lawn with Sure-Loc steel edging, offers "Karl Foerster' feather reed grass, and Gaura "Whirling Butterflies.'
The home's turfgrass selection was "Bella' Bluegrass (inset), developed at the University of Nebraska. It's noted for drought and shade tolerance, dwarf and dense growth habit, dark green foliage and shorter leaves.
The backyard was designed for gathering. Intimate patio spaces are separated from the large covered porch by short stone garden walls, and surrounded by daylilies and ornamental grasses. These walls beckon children to come and play, providing a wonderful architectural extension of the home that mimics the newly placed rock on the home and schoolhouse foundation.
The backyard focal point is the stunning brick fireplace custom designed by Northland Design Group. It replicates details from the home's chimney and the historic "teardrop' brick patterns around the old school house windows. This space is where family memories are created, which leads back to the underlying goal of the owners: to bring their family together and to connect to their past.