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2012 Award of Honor - Miami Beach Garden
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Project Category: Residential

Project Name: Miami Beach Garden

Project Location: Miami Beach, FL

Date of Completion: November 2011

Landscape Architect: Raymond Jungles, Inc. - Raymond Jungles, FASLA


 Landscape Contractor: Plant Creations, Inc. - Stan Matthews and Dave Schroeder

 Owner: Stephen and Renee Gans

Our clients, a young family with a young son and a dachshund named Bonzai, were very happy in their house, and had created an exceptional living environment where natural materials abounded and Brazilian furniture created comfortable sitting areas. Yet, there was sparse integration with the exterior. They expressed the desire to feel as if they lived in a tree house, and commissioned the landscape architect to determine the architectural and interior renovations.     

This 14,240 square foot corner lot is located on an island dredged from the surrounding Biscayne Bay by Carl Fisher, one of Miami’s pioneer developers, in 1924. The island’s original 1936 landscape plan required one Royal palm at suitable intervals on each block. Due to these regulations, the landscape architect planted indigenous privacy plantings using species that would enlarge their canopies after the passage of time.

A stunning architectural intervention was introduced in the entry garden, between the two auto courts. The entry pergola, pivot door, floating concrete steps and aquatic sculpture garden create comfort and stimulation as one enters and departs. As the pivot door opens, the interior and exterior elements fuse, and long views in both directions are revealed. The same materials are continued on the ground plane, walls and ceiling, further linking the indoor and outdoor spaces. 

The home’s interior spaces are connected with the exterior spaces by maximizing glazing to allow views and light.  The glazing is frosted at exterior equipment areas where no view is desired. Corner windows were introduced to magnify the connection. A favorite louvered garden room was expounded upon and opens up to the surrounding private garden.

A new kitchen was created to function as the center of the home’s social spaces. An outdoor dining area with built-in table and cooktop was created adjacent to this space to encourage outdoor dining and a union with nature. A new pergola with sliding privacy screens extends the master bedroom, creating a lounge area complete with fire element. The master bathroom is celebrated, enlarged and linked to a private garden. 

The existing rear garden was mostly swimming pool, walled off equipment area and pavement. The landscape architect created a feeling of more space, while providing exterior spaces for outside living and increased the circulation both inside and out. The large windows unify the architectural façade and afford views through the branches of the courtyard trees, creating the feeling of a tree house. 

The landscape architect designed a new cabana bath and massage pavilion. It was placed where the equipment area existed, which once obstructed the rear garden space and circulation. The equipment was placed on top, and concealed behind a parapet wall and flowering vines. 

The existing swimming pool dominated the entire garden; a stagnant space with non-descript detail. The pool was reduced in scale, resulting in multiple user experiences where before, swimming was the only activity.  A wet deck creates an alternative patio, from which one experiences the longest view across the garden and off into the sky, with historic Royal palms towering in the background.   

As the lead on the design team, the landscape architect was able to exemplify the possibilities of interior and exterior integration and harmony. The landscape architect designed all exterior architectural elements, including selection of windows and doors, working with his staff designers, and the in-house architect of the general contractor. An architectural consultant and interior designer were brought on at a later date to refine and resolve unresolved details.  The general contractor and subcontractors constructed impeccably detailed elements and surfaces.  The water garden consultant, landscape contractor, lighting contractor and clients all embraced the special qualities that were sought and achieved.     


 Architectural Consultant: Mark Hampton

 Interior Designer: Bruce Bierman and John Lehmann - Bruce Bierman Design Inc.

 General Contractor: Jim Woolems - Woolems, Inc.

 Water Feature Consultant: Edgewater Exhibits (formerly Biscayne Aquaculture)

 Specimen Tree Broker: Sean Jacobus

 Lighting Consultant: Perry Kuhn - PCL Landscape Lighting Inc.

 Photography: Steven Brooke - Steven Brooke Studios, Inc.

 Custom Metal Work: Art Ballard - Arts Work Unlimited, Inc.

 Custom Metal Work: Terry Barrett - Royal Iron Creations

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