ust as white space adds a framework and depth to a work of art, the landscape surrounding buildings can provide harmony and a flow that ties the structures to their environs. The integrity and beauty of the whole is all in the balance.
Landscape architect Bill Burton of Burton Landscape Architecture Studio, who in 2004 began the design process for the exterior space at The Resort at Pelican Hill,® believes that successful projects flesh out the details early on so that, once completed, it feels as if the buildings and landscape emerge as one.
“Over the four years leading up to opening day, we spent a lot of time figuring out where everything should go and how it would best sit on the land,” says Burton.
Where does one begin with such an expansive assignment? Because Orange County’s coastal topography and weather are so similar to those of northern Italy, the first Newport Coast General Plan, completed in the 1970s, reflected the feel of those iconic Italian hill towns and villages. When it came time to develop The Resort at Pelican Hill, the Irvine Company® extended that ideal by blending Mediterranean design with California’s environment and adopting the classic Palladian villa as its model.
Andrea Palladio, 16th-century forefather of the villa style, believed that the setting was at the heart and soul of the villa, and was meant to be “in balance between man and nature, on a scale acceptable to both.”
At Pelican Hill,® Burton says, scale was a critical element; for this reason, close to 4,000 trees were cultivated and prepared for planting across the property. It was an undertaking that required masterful hands. The trees successfully set down roots and have since flourished, creating grounds that appear centuries old.