The first major challenge, as is the case in many waterfront renovations, was to address the ecological sensitivity of terrain. Not only is the land a valuable coastal habitat, explains Lombardi, but it is also in a potential seasonal floodplain zone. “Both of these considerations required a well-thought solution that meshed our client’s desires with the specific constraints posed by the site,” says Lombardi, who has a masters degree in landscape architecture from Harvard.
This meant working within wetland and waterways restrictions to protect the environment and create a flexible “base plan,” allowing for inevitable adjustments that need to be made. “It’s always a much longer, much more involved process,” than people typically think, Lombardi notes.
The next task was to create an overall landscape design that complemented the homeowners’ lifestyle. “It was an orchestration of spaces,” Lombardi explains, noting that he always choreographs myriad areas—pools, spas, terraces, outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas, herb or meditation gardens, dog runs—in an effort to create a comfortable, cohesive, yet aesthetically pleasing environment.
Explaining his design process, Lombardi says that when he brings a completed landscape design to the homeowner, it is like observing a person taking a Rorschach test. Part of the process is to study what each client sees in the plan compared to what they envisioned, and then evaluating how they see themselves living in the proposed areas. “We almost act as the translator,” says the designer. “What is the story we are trying to tell with the landscape? What is its identity?” Lombardi blends the homeowners’ input after reviewing the plan with a maintenance plan, taking into consideration environmental protection considerations.
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