4 Outdoor Living Planning Tips for Architects in Bozeman & Big Sky, MT

Written By: Mason Shaffer

Apr 6, 2020 7:47:02 AM

When architecture and landscape design merge, the opportunity to create something truly spectacular becomes a reality. This is important as today’s homeowners are looking for a complete space that synchronizes the indoors with the outdoors. 

In fact, research and survey data show that outdoor living spaces are more important to homeowners than ever before. When a home is designed or built, homeowners are requesting or looking for these spaces from the onset. That makes it important that outdoor areas are given the same attention to detail as the home itself.

Of course, for many architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, outdoor living planning is not something they likely prefer to spend a lot of time on, when they are focused on structures. Architects are masters of design, but they may not have the outdoor knowledge or experience to translate their design skills to the great outdoors.

This is where the partnership between architects and landscape professionals can shine. Navigating outdoor living design may be unfamiliar territory for architects, but it is the very focus of skilled landscape design professionals. 

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we value working relationships with architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT. Here are some of the most important things that we’ve learned in the merging of these two worlds. 

These are some important tips that architects should keep in mind as they look to connect the home to the landscape, ideally with the help of a landscape design professional.

1. A Landscape Design Should Tell a Story

The best outdoor living spaces tell the landscape’s “story,” the way that it was meant to be told. That means taking all of the natural elements of the site into account. This includes everything from the soil make-up to the grading and elevation of the site to the surrounding natural plant material—and so much more.

home and patio designed in Bozeman, MT

There’s no question that you can tell when outdoor living areas do not look as though they were intended to complement the home and the site as a whole. It looks disjointed and it fails to flow harmoniously, it fails to tell a story. Since many homeowners view the landscape and the home itself as “one,” this can have an overall negative impact on their perception of the space.

A landscape design professional should be an expert in making the most out of the outdoor space. They should be able to capitalize on what’s there and design spaces that look as though they were always “meant to be there.” They should also work with the home itself.

This is best achieved when the landscape design and the home design are able to be completed together.

2. Drawing a Home Independent of the Site Can Cause Problems on the Back-End

Architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT are true masters of design. When it comes to those designs they understand how important even the smallest details can be. However, sometimes when drawing a home, the conceptual plans take every detail of the home itself into account but overlook the outdoor details. 

This can ultimately be problematic.

It may seem as though the outdoor areas can just be “designed later,” but this could have unintended negative consequences. The outdoor details like elevation, the direction of prevailing winds, and exposure should not be afterthoughts when it comes to incorporating an outdoor living area.

This is where a landscape professional can step in and assist in details that might be potentially overlooked. A landscape pro is going to know which details really need to be accounted for during the design process and how they will impact the outdoor living space. The complete site (the home itself and the outdoor space) are best designed together, taking everything into account.

3. The Exterior Can Impact the Interior

Although more and more architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT are beginning to think of the interior and the exterior in a holistic way, there are still times when they are each designed independently. However, when the exterior is overlooked, sometimes that can impact the interior, particularly when it comes to sight lines and views. 

Home and landscape with retaining wall and steps

Many homes in our region are designed with multiple big windows in order to maximize views of the beautiful Montana landscape. But if exterior factors are not considered from the onset, these views can be detrimentally impacted.

A landscape professional will understand how the exterior of a home will ultimately affect the interior. This includes how to maximize the views and get the most possible impact from the picturesque opportunities that Bozeman and Big Sky, MT make a reality.

Home with architecture built for pretty views in Montana

Sometimes, a landscape designer might even have ideas about where windows would be best-situated with the exterior in mind. With their extensive outdoor knowledge, they might have thoughtful attributions to where the light will shine throughout the day, what will be in bloom at what times of the year, how tall certain trees will grow, or where site lines are best to optimize the view. They’ll have an understanding of the landscape as an ever-changing and evolving feature and can also be your “crystal ball” into the future of how these views could change.

4. Architecture and Landscape Design Can Successfully Mesh with the Right Partnership

If you’ve worked with a landscape designer in the past and not had the best working relationship or results, you might be reluctant to try it again. Or, perhaps you’ve never worked with a landscape designer but you can’t imagine how you’d be able to work together.

The truth is, finding the right landscape design company will be a key to your success. 

Not all landscape designers are going to be comfortable working with architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT and might not even be able to “speak the same language.” 

There are other companies that could create a power struggle. But in order to achieve success, these two professions must be able to work in harmony.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we understand that the design expertise falls in the hands of the architect who takes the creative lead on these projects. However, we’re always grateful to be connected into these projects and consulted for our outdoor expertise. It helps that we can speak the language that architects use—that is, the “design speak” that we know is at the essence of this work. 

We understand that language can echo it into the solution. A lot of architects seem to appreciate working with a landscape designer that has an understanding of their world, can offer some advice, but ultimately defers to their expertise as the lead. We’re not out to create a power struggle but to help make you look good. 

Building Mutually Beneficial Long-Term Partnerships

While we’re ultimately looking to build long-term relationships with architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, we also know which projects we are the best fit for and which we are not. We know where we can be most helpful and where our outdoor design expertise will shine.

home with beautiful architecture and custom landscape in Montana

Building a long-term relationship with Blanchford Landscape Group can also be beneficial for architects in our area as we often consult directly with Realtors and potential buyers before they’ve even connected with architects. This is a testament to the fact that outdoor living spaces really are at the top of a lot of peoples’ minds and they are sometimes inclined to think about those spaces first

When we are involved with projects very early on, before the architectural design has even begun, we are in a great position to recommend architects that we have great working relationships with. In this way, it truly is a mutually beneficial partnership.

Partnering with a Landscape Pro You Can Count On

In the end, so much of it comes down to trust. We find that when we partner with other professionals, like architects in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, it works because there is mutual trust and a common goal. We understand it’s your reputation on the line. You’re entrusting the landscape to us—and we deliver.

Ultimately, the best designs are those that have “blurred lines.” That means the home, both inside and out, comes together in a “complete way.” Whenever we can utilize the same materials that were used inside of the home and on it’s exterior within the landscape design, the project really does look its best—and that’s a win for everyone.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we are looking to contribute our expertise to those “winning” projects that stand out for all the right reasons.

If you’re an architect in the Bozeman or Big Sky, MT area and would like to learn more about how we can help on your next project, let’s connect. We love partnering with winners and would love a chance to succeed together.

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Topics: Architects

Posted by Mason Shaffer

Mason has earned both a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture prior to joining our team in 2011. Outside of work, you will find Mason spending quality time with his wife and two little girls. They will likely be exploring the outdoors, camping, fishing, golfing, planting, or just playing in the dirt.

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