Design snapshot: Hardscape footwork

Architects and designers orchestrate movement through space, both inside and outside the home. It's one of our great challenges. As frequent House Enthusiast readers might recall, I believe most any and all constructed space is architecture, including the patio, garden, driveway, footpath, tool shed, etc. That's part of the reason I enjoy the temperate months; they allow me to explore the architecture beyond our homes' walls.

This space in between -- in between inside and outside, in between house and fence, in between porch and garden -- beautifully steers visitors and occupants as they transition from street arrival to private home and onward.

I'm particularly enamored with the random-sized and random-coursed slate pavers set on an angle that intermingle with brick, and create a jagged border of grass and plantings along a curved, stone-edged, raised bed on one side and a slightly elevated brick and granite porch patio on the other. The organic yet intricate footpath reminds me of my teen figure-skating days. On a small plan sketch of the rink, my coach would choreograph where each spin and jump in my freeskate programs would occur, and I would invariably ask, "But how will I get there: from camel spin to lutz?"  Her answer, "With footwork." Indeed, it's inspired hardscape footwork that brings folks arriving at this home from feature to feature.

The contrast of color, texture, angle, even elevation enrich the experience of this procession, giving clues that both orient and delight. The footwork is as intriguing as the highlights along the way.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast