There’s a lot of history in some homes, and it can be difficult to pay homage while still making it your own. At the Jackson home in Reno, perched over the Truckee River and hidden down a quiet, shady street, the challenge was turning a wild, overgrown, mismatched outdoor space into an inviting, comfortable, multi-purpose landscape while still incorporating specific existing elements. To make it happen, homeowners Brad and Tammy turned to LandArt and Harris Landscape Construction.
From “Scary” to “Landscaping Heaven!”
First, a little history — Tammy’s father, an architect, built the river home 43 years ago and it was Tammy’s childhood home. It changed hands over the years, but came full circle when Tammy and her husband bought it several years ago. They set about making it their own, which involved significant interior upgrades and a master approach to the exterior space. “When we bought the house, the landscaping was, for lack of a better word, scary!” laughs Tammy. “It was completely overgrown and areas that had been tended to made no sense, with no flow from one another to the next. There were many different materials everywhere — pavers that didn’t match, an abundance of lava rock, mulch, flagstone, you name it, it had been used on the property, but nothing belonged.”
And while the outdoor spaces were quite different than they’d been when Tammy lived there as a teen in terms of style and maintenance, there were a few things that remained. Specifically, the property retained an original storage structure and barrel sauna. “I wanted those to remain, but since we were starting basically from scratch, we needed someone to tell us if that was even possible,” she says.
The family also needed professional guidance pulling together their many ideas. “My vision was for our outdoor space was an extension of what’s important on the inside,” explains Tammy. “I want our guests to feel comfortable, cozy and that they don’t want to leave once they get here. We have a large family and host almost all of the family holidays and life events, so I wanted multiple areas to provide lots of space and entertainment for guests of all ages. I wanted the outside to feel like it was part of the inside and the transition to all of the areas to be seamless.” It was also important to Tammy that certain nostalgia areas were spruced up to create new memories for new generations.
Bringing in the Pros
A quick online search for a landscape architect yielded LandArt. Harris Landscape Construction works closely with LandArt on many Reno landscaping projects, and the Jackson project was no exception. “They brought in HLC and it was a match made in landscaping heaven,” says Tammy.
“This was a huge undertaking with plenty of obstacles just from the location alone. HLC was always so happy to be brought on board and they seemed to really love the challenges that this particular job entailed. We gave them our wishlist and asked to use all of the space that we could. We wanted low maintenance — we’ve since found out there is no such thing when dealing with mature trees and a gazillion plants! — and we specifically asked for eating areas on both sides of the house (we have a creek side and a river side). We wanted an outdoor kitchen, a bar, a pergola, room for the beloved sauna, a fire place with a seating area, a fire pit with a seating area, a putting green, a horseshoe pit, a hammock area, room for an outdoor ping pong table, and finally, room to add tables and chairs if we need extra seating for larger parties. Guess what — we got it all! Oh boy, did they deliver!”
The Finished Project
The family was thrilled with the finished project, and we’re happy to say we nailed the original challenge of balancing old and new. “My favorite part is that even though there is a lot of new and beautiful plant life, the hardscape materials in the new areas look like they’ve always been here,” says Tammy. “Everything is perfect! I truly can’t pick a favorite area to be in, because every spot they created for us is beautiful, peaceful and so cozy.”
The seal of approval came from Tammy’s father, the home’s original designer builder. “He wonders why he didn’t do it when he lived here,” Tammy says, “and he can’t believe he ever sold it.”
An HLC Recommendation
“Having lived here during ‘de-construction’ and construction, the HLC crew was always so nice, polite and happy to be on the job,” Tammy shares. “They worked hard, but always had a smile or a wave for us. Tom and Adrian in particular always came up with solutions to unexpected issues and always made sure that if something wasn’t right, that it got handled right away. I can’t say enough positive things about this company.”
Tammy and Brad, thank you so much for sharing your experience. It was an honor to work on your lovely home, and we’re so pleased it came out as beautifully as it has. We wish you many years of happiness there!