We reached out to ask Tris Bawden of Edifice Design & Architecture a few questions about her beautiful family yard. To see more design & architecture work by Tris and her husband, Sam, see their Instagram page: @edifice_dna
This backyard is located in the Greater Salt Lake area.
Q. What do you love about your backyard?
A: We love the large, old trees on our (almost) half-acre. That is one of the reasons my architect husband and I decided to stay and remodel our 1940s cottage instead of move. We tried to make our gardens both formal and casual. We love the challenge and interest of “the mix”.
We feel at home surrounded by trees, so living in a desert climate is difficult. We discovered that, with careful planning and maintenance, it’s possible to responsibly have trees envelop a suburban landscape, even here.
Q. Tell me about your beautiful trees. What varieties do you have? What do you like about them?
A: We have tulip trees, hornbeams, Carpethian walnut, blue spruce, Sargent’s crabapple, pecan, Japanese maples, deodar cedars, Hinoki cypresses, ginkgoes, ash, weeping purple beeches, starlight dogwoods, contorted filbert, apples, pear, peach, plums, thuja green giants, Utah gambel oaks, apricots, blue atlas cedar, Wichita blue junipers, junipers, big tooth maples, Alaskan cedar.
We love the variety! It’s a good mix of evergreen and deciduous. After all, we only have leaves on trees half of the year.
Q. If you have an interesting tree story, please share!
A: We were told that our home’s original owner’s son brought back a native ginkgo seedling from China and planted it on Mother’s day. This, now large, gingko dominates the landscape.
We love it so much we designed our home and garage around it, both to celebrate it and to not damage it. Our gingko drops it’s vibrant yellow leaves all in one day in November. That day is like a holiday around here!
Q. Your yard is very lush. Have you faced any challenges growing things in the Utah climate?
A: Our yard is our laboratory. We have spent many years reading books and visiting local botanical gardens trying to figure out what works in our area and for our personal maintenance preference and aesthetic. We try to plant what really works here and not just what is popular or frequently used. Some things work and some things don’t! We enjoy the trial and error, and discovery of new-to-us species.
Q. What are some of the design decisions you made along the way?
A. Our yard is an extension of our home. We want it to feel like an outdoor room, thus privacy is important to us. After all, we don’t want to feel like neighbors (although loved) are looking in our windows.
My husband is very good at incorporating architectural concepts of his practice to the outdoors, like squeeze and release, framing views, paths, heights, focal points, etc. Our yard feels like a series of rooms.
Q. How is designing an outdoor space different than designing an interior?
A: Designing an outdoor space is similar and different to designing a structure or indoor space. Similar in that you need variety in color, texture, shape and size. You need a great overall plan. Different in that you are dealing with living things that grow and change shape, require constant care, and don’t always follow rules.
No matter how much research you do, you can’t always anticipate what will thrive. There are always surprises in the yard. Interiors are much easier that way, but maybe not as exciting.
All images provided by Tris Bawden of Edifice Design & Architecture.