Brookhollow

DALLAS, TX

Designer: Hocker Design Group, Brookhollow, Farmer’s Branch, TX

Located towards the back of a 2.0 acre suburban site, this house is tucked discreetly near the riparian zone of an existing creek. The house is sited for maximum views and minimum tree loss. The resulting synthesis is a project that feels as if it has been built for years. Three wings surround and open to a central courtyard overlooking a swimming pool and the creek beyond. The landscape architecture program includes active zone areas for family use and restoration of native creek habitat for plants and wildlife. Flexible circulation and accessibility over the site was a main design goal. The design creates a series of terraces extending from the house to promote fluid movements and use for various sized user groups. Changes in surface materials delineate the various terraces and provide a rhythm of materiality as one traverses the level grounds. A stone wall becomes the spine of the site. This masonry boulder wall has pieces of glass slag artfully arranged within stones and backlit with LED’s. The main terrace located at the center courtyard is the heart of the site. The house surrounds the terrace creating a beautiful interior/exterior relationship. The swimming pool is a visual cue to the landscape beyond, and further creates a sense of connection beyond with a transparent resin infinity edge. The terrace is constructed of oversized surface limestone slabs with planted joints full of native plantings. Rainfall sheds off the roof overhangs onto the limestone slabs, water percolates through the gravel filled joints, and is conveyed through an extensive French drain system to the cisterns. Rainwater is collected throughout the site and directed to an underground storage tank and then pumped up to four 5000 gallon cisterns for over 20,000 gallons of rainwater storage for irrigation. This design coordination for water catchment was an important sustainable project goal between client and landscape architect. An extensive planting program creates buffer zones between the suburban house and its neighbors. The plantings in the creek area create a plant matrix of overstory, understory, and low groundplane perennials to create layered habitat for birds and wildlife. These areas of dense planting at the southern end of the site become accessible with a narrow repurposed concrete slab walking path— merging the landscape with the house once again. The concrete slabs were saved during the demolition of the old driveway. Mown turf areas were established for active play, while creating “voids” surrounded by meadow grasses and native plantings. The meadow provides interest year round. From wildflowers in spring and summer to the flowering inflourescence of the native grasses in fall, native and adapted plantings were utilized to create a low water-use, low maintenance landscape. Strong seasonal interest keeps the garden colorful and full of wildlife year round.