This Boca Raton, Fla., home has something to please just about anyone: It's a child's paradise, an adult's at-home resort, and a guest's good luck. “The owners wanted it to be a safe harbor for their kids and their boats,” says Rene Alonso, general contractor of the new 12,000-square-foot house and elaborate site work. It's that and much more; the 5-acre site provides plenty of room and opportunity for young and old to have a good time.
Located on a large man-made lake, the property was designed for recreation by landscape architect Krent Wieland Design. Its most dramatic move was to sculpt out a 50-foot-wide lagoon to create a protected spot for a two-story boathouse and to bring the water closer to the house. Alonso hauled in truckloads of sand from mid-state to furnish the lagoon with a private beach.
This isn't the only beach on the site. The free-form swimming pool has a gradual beach entry where children can play in just 4 inches of water. As a safety measure, the light-sand colored pebbletech entry changes to a dark color where the pool deepens. The opposite edge of the pool hugs the lakeside beach with an infinity edge. From the house, pool and lake seem to flow as one. The pool is “the jewel of the property,” says landscape architect Dan Mock, the project manager at Krent Wieland.
If the pool is the jewel, the colored concrete path encircling the property is its necklace. At one point it leads to a stone bridge over a spillway and hooks up with the larger community jogging path. Designed to be a safe place for the owners' kids to ride bikes and skate, the path also links all the property's amenities, including the 3,000-square-foot putting green and four tees. Like the owner, Alonso is an avid golfer and says the synthetic turf he installed is “very close to the real thing.” Although the synthetic material is expensive, it eliminates the need for even more expensive turf maintenance.
Natural plant materials dominate the site and take the edge off its newness. Coarse, rugged St. Augustine grass blankets most of the acreage, but Krent Wieland speced softer Bermuda grass for a circular area near the house where children can play and parties can spill over from the covered terraces. For shade and beauty, the owner requested that the grounds be planted with live oaks, a tree native to the Deep South. Alonso trucked in 20 massive trees, some as old as 40 years, that had been harvested from sites slated for development. Because of state highway restrictions, he could only bring in one or two trees at a time in the middle of the night.
At $2,000 to $7,000 each, the trees accounted for a significant portion of the planting budget, which topped $500,000. But the trees not only add to the aesthetics of the estate. They also form a lacy screen that adds privacy to this resort-like home.
Project Credits:Builder: Alonso & Associates, Palm Beach, Fla.; Architect: Garcia/Brenner/Stromberg, Boca Raton, Fla.; Landscape architect: Krent Wieland Design, Lake Worth, Fla.; Interior designer: Richerson Interiors, Coral Springs, Fla.; Pool Builder: G.A.F., Coral Springs