When home builders speak “sustainable” they are routinely referencing hard goods, the materials used to literally build the structure. “Soft goods” too are a part of the equation. Soft goods are the upholstery, the draperies the carpets and even lampshades. Now a third aspect of sustainability is emerging: sustainable landscaping to complement the residence.
The American Society of Landscape Architects homeowners can go net-zero or climate positive by tapping into the potential of landscaping. Green roof and wall systems measurably reduce energy use—both heating and AC costs.
According to The Sustainable SITES Initiative, homeowners can use trees and dense shrubs to shade not only their homes but the external HVAC systems. By blocking sunshine or wind, the systems don’t have to work as hard and that too reduces energy costs.
One of the foremost influences Spencer Chase considers when planning the footprint of a house on the property is existing trees and shrubs. Whenever Chase can retain a tree on the lot, he does. The same goes for shrubs. Consequently his newly built custom homes feature landscaping that is already mature. It’s quite the opposite of developers a generation ago who scraped not only the existing ruins of a home from the lot but the landscaping as well to prepare for new development. Buyers then had to watch their newly planted landscaping grow up. A decade later, they might have decent shade from a tree or landscaping blocking the direct view from an adjoining home or the front street.
Photos on file at the Denver Public Library show Cory-Merrill neighborhood circa early 1900s with trees lining the streets. One hundred and twenty years later, some of those trees continue to thrive, serving as canopies over the sidewalks and walking paths for so many of the area’s population of nearly 4,800 residents.
Chase pays tribute to the foliage by incorporating it into the footprint of the home on the property to take full advantage of shade, living barriers to wind and weather, and to establish conversation nooks within the property. One of Chase’s trademarks is the inclusion of a set of Adirondack chairs on the lawn in front of the residence.
It’s incredible what two Adirondack chairs communicate.
History has it that Thomas Lee was searching for comfortable outdoor furniture in 1903 for his cottage in Westport, NY near the Adirondack mountains when he came up with the concept of 11 flat boards structured as seating. Rugged and nearly indigenous, this rustic seating was likely the first sustainable outdoor lounge seating created by modern man. Lee shared his chair design with his friend Harry Bunnell who took liberties with the design patenting it in 1905 (US Patent #794,777.) The friendship was tested as much as the ensuing weather tested the original seating over the years. Preference for the sustainable stylish Adirondack chair has never flagged as variations on the fundamental style have evolved over time into polywood, resin and armless version (wide armrests were a part of the original design.)
Time spent in an Adirondack chair evokes collective memories of gathering for relaxation and conversation.
It’s also why Chase includes this particular seating in his front lawn staging when showing his custom home construction. Sustainable style and sustainable functionality converge to make a statement of lasting legacy.
This is one small aspect of the sustainability factor Chase employs in his architectural design as well as his landscape design and furnishings to achieve an ultra-effective message at each address he custom builds in the Cory-Merrill neighborhood in Denver. Sit. Experience the sensation that resonates from the effect of an hour in an Adirondack chair.
It’s all Chase. And it’s all about sustainability.