Dobbins Branch

Nashville, TN

Project Description

The rural character of this property on the outskirts of Nashville was designed as a homestead at the base of a wooded hillside. The designed plan contrasts an open, undulating field in front of the house with a relatively compact back yard.  The back yard extends the living spaces of porches that surround the main living room and kitchen to the house.

The house is accessed by a gently curving driveway that ascends to the front of the house.  The driveway layout and grading accommodated a grade change of over 30 feet from the street and offers various vistas through the completed landscape to the surrounding fields. Trees were introduced to help enhance vistas throughout the site and screen unwanted views.  An existing pond was retained as part of the plan, and subtle grading added to the downhill side of the dam helps mitigate the engineered slope and helps views to the pond feel more natural in the overall plan.

The approach at the front accommodates guest parking off to one side, and is flanked by a small allee of Crape Myrtle trees. This formal gesture in the landscape contrasts with the largely curved beds and walls utilized elsewhere through the site, but deliberately so, as the front door of the house, framed in a stone vestibule, stands proud of the mass of the house.  The rear yard was designed as a casual layout that accommodates outdoor dining, seating and a pool and spa.  The pool shape is derivative of the small pond, and mimics the curvature of that pond as viewed from the pool.  Working in Tandem with the architecture, a  generous side porch was a feature that was kept open to the pond with a graded slope of uninterrupted lawn that slopes down to ponds edge.

Collaborators: J Terry Bates Associates Architects