Garden on Turtle Creek
Turtle Creek House, designed by Antoine Predock and completed in 1993, overlooks a steep hill down to Turtle Creek. MVVA set out to link the glass, limestone, and concrete of the house to the richly vegetated slope, introducing both constructed elements and a variety of dense new plantings. The transition from the soft planar lawn to the meandering stainless steel stepping stone planks—hard and hollow underfoot—alters the pace and feel of a walk through the garden. Likewise, the transition from the exposed aggregate steps feathered into the hillside to the rectangular concrete logs as one approaches the river emphasizes the change in the body's spatial relationship to the ground plane.
Grass steps extend from the house to the lawn. MVVA designed a new concrete wall to define the “architectural” lawn space, but by sloping its top in accord with the drop of the land, the wall slips into the landscape and avoids creating an unnecessary barrier along the mid-slope paths.
The fountain area is composed of a series of concrete retaining walls that vary in height. The walls are connected to a large cantilevering concrete water basin that also functions as a birdbath dear to the birdwatching owners. The heft of the concrete walls is offset by the riotous plantings of Texas elderberry, coralberry, and wax myrtles as well as black granite slabs that appear to hover above the water.
Exposed aggregate steps are spaced at irregular intervals to respect and adjust to the existing topography and large trees, as well as to foster awareness of the body’s relationship to the changing surroundings.