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Christina Oaks Residence
Alexandria, Louisiana

CARBO Landscape Architecture


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At the 10-acre Christina Oaks Residence in Alexandria, Louisiana, the lower pool's infinity edge visually connects with the constructed lake/pond. An 8' wide composite bridge on the far side of the pond crosses over a drainage weir.


This commission began as an hourly consulting agreement between CARBO Landscape Architecture and the clients for the site selection of their proposed new residence.

CARBO Landscape Architecture was established in 1995 as Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects. The firm has 3 partners and 9 team members. The firm's work encompasses residential and estate gardens; regional parks; institutional, corporate, and academic campuses; botanical gardens; environmental education venues; urban streetscapes; and large scale planning initiatives.

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A curving gravel and concrete driveway sweeps by a grove of fringetrees, transitioning to a grass paneled concrete driveway treated with a dark charcoal gray topical stain. The porte cochere frames the garage, with Japanese wisteria vines working their way across the top of the door.


The challenge for the landscape architects was to find a parcel of land for the clients near the amenities and existing developments they desired, while accommodating their essential goals for a property that would feel remote, spacious and resort like. Ultimately, CARBO assisted in the selection of the site, the architect and developed a comprehensive master plan through to construction documents, administration and observation for all site and landscape components.

The challenges presented to the landscape architects were at times a bit overwhelming. The clients desired many of the aspects typical of a suburban residence, yet they also desired acreage and many "park like" rural amenities.

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A deep 2.9-acre pond/lake was dug at the lower level of the property to accommodate site runoff and to mitigate against possible flooding. The clay soil of the pond obviated the necessity for a pond liner. The pond has submerged aerators and is stocked with Florida and striped bass. Trees within the pond create fish habitat. The most abundant trees specified around the pond include southern magnolia, cypress, American holly, Eastern red cedar, pecan, yaupon, river birch, along with a variety of oaks.


A 10-acre site is located in Alexandria, Louisiana (pop. 47,723), with lies near the geographic center of the state. The broader metro area has a population of some 154,000. The city lies on the south bank of the Red River, the second-largest river basin in the southern Great Plains. The Red River flows east between the Texas and Oklahoma borders, before turning south into Arkansas and Louisiana, then flowing into the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana, as the river makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The clients found the site to their liking and purchased multiple parcels of land. The landscape architects realized the site planning needed to first address and remedy the potential for low-level flooding during heavy rains. The landscape architects' guiding vision was to create a large pond as a visual and recreational amenity, and make use of the excavated soil to set built components on higher terraces that would eliminate all from any potential of flooding, while providing more dramatic views of the proposed hardscape and landscape features. These simple terraces graduate to lower levels at the street and pond.

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The main pool and lower pool have infinity edges and bluestone decking. The turf that terraces down to the pond is 'Palisades' Zoysia, flanked on either side by 250 'Southern Charm' azaleas. The turf is a medium to coarse textured turf noted for its shade tolerance and low water use requirements.


Details were derived from patterns established early with the client and architect. Clean lines of white, green and blue were employed to provide continuity between the architectural and the landscape's linear geometry immediate to the residence. All built elements transition to the naturalistic edges of landscape and water.

Simplicity and restraint became the hallmarks of the design, seizing opportunities from the wonders of nature such as reflective water, sky and vegetation. Linear masses of evergreens, grasses and trees contrast with the large masses of native grasses for seasonal interest.

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The soil extracted to create the pond was used to terrace the central lawn. Stainless steel runnels--8" wide, 50' long--move 150 gpm of water from the main pool to the lower infinity edge pool. River rock decorates the runnel, and bluestone slabs are positioned on either side of the runnel above the top terrace.


Sustainable components include onsite storm water retention, permeable paving, use of recycled brick, loose native aggregates and native trees and grasses.

Our goals, alongside those of the client, were accomplished through years of planning and execution. The results of a successful large-scale strategy paired with our desire for an artful execution of details gave this commission the function yet elegance we aspired for.

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The stainless steel trough fountain is backed with native broom sedge.


Team
CARBO Landscape Architecture, Alexandria, Louisiana
Robin Ewing Pools
Yankee Clipper: Landscape and Irrigation
Pat Williams Construction: Hardscape
Progressive Construction: Pond



As seen in LASN magazine, November 2017.






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