The Garden on Turtle Creek, completed in May 1999, combines modern landscape design aesthetics with a celebration of environmental specificity. Weaving new landscape elements into the site's natural systems and intense native vegetation, the garden mediates two strong contextual forces: the sophisticated glass, limestone, and concrete house, designed by Antoine Predock and completed in 1993, and the steep, richly vegetated slope that descends toward Turtle Creek.
The backbone of the garden is the continuous path of varied walking surfaces that flow from the house down the slope. Key to the design was the modulation of surfaces: the transition from the soft planar terra firma of the lawn to the meandering stainless steel planks that are hard and hollow underfoot, for example, alters the pace of a walk through the garden. The transition from the exposed aggregate steps feathered into the hillside to the riverside concrete logs, elevated well above the organic surface of the stream's edge, reemphasizes the change in the body's spatial relationship to the ground plane.
To preserve the site's natural systems, interventions were engineered to be low-impact. The steps were hand-dug and placed in a unique shifting layout to and avoid disturbing the thick tangle of root systems of existing large trees. Likewise, the stainless steel checkerplate pavers in the lawn hover slightly above the ground on sonotube foundations that were carefully laid out on site to avoid root damage. At the creek's edge, where flooding and runoff problems are most severe, the rectangular concrete 'logs" used as stepping stones were strategically aligned so as not to interfere with existing runoff patterns.
The Garden on Turtle Creek received a 2004 ASLA Design Honor Award