An open corner lot in the historic district of Uptown in New Orleans was restored and redeveloped with gardens that help define public/private uses. Structural changes to the porch and the design of new garden walls, hedges, and the establishment of new street trees provide new private courtyard spaces. Re-establishing the municipal sidewalk, curb, and street parking area also helped organize the plan, and at the same time greatly enhanced the drainage and infiltration sorely needed.
The house is a double shotgun style, typical of the neighborhood, and the new landscape helps reinforce the facade of the duplex house as a singular expression, while at the same time establishes separate private spaces for occupants on both sides of the house. The existing garden did not have this distinction for separate garden spaces, and the landscape was largely spotty foundation planting that did not best utilize the open land. Additionally, the existing sidewalk and street frontage parking flooded with most rainfalls, a frequent occurrence in New Orleans. The roots of two majestic Live Oak street trees at the front of the house that were to be maintained added more challenges to installing a continuous new sidewalk.
The new landscape restored the historic style porch that matches the width of the house, and a broad stand of Cast Iron plant on the ground plane that also helps establish a simple street frontage that complements the width of the new front porch.
A new sidewalk and a re-establishment of a municipal street curb and street parking were included as part of the comprehensive landscape plan. Grading at the house and the street helped define areas that alternately receive roof runoff that is directed to infiltrate and recharge. The planted median strip is set lower than the top of the curb, and acts as a rain garden area. The entire curb and side street parking area were re-established with graded gravel that further adds to the infiltration of street runoff.
Reminiscent of many courtyard gardens in New Orleans, a traditional masonry wall was designed as a partial enclosure and background for new courtyard plantings on either side of the south facade of the house. On one side the stucco wall utilizes a reclaimed wrought iron fence panel that maintains an open view with vistas out of the courtyard. The rear courtyard was designed as an open terrace, with a new majestic date palm as the centerpiece of the courtyard. Stucco walls, antique brick paving for the terraces, and plantings that reflect the diversity of tropical as well as native plants, added a welcome revival to this New Orleans site.