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Southwest Swale Way

by Heather Day / July 8, 2023

Intelligent Drainage & Rainfall Celebration

Front entry by driveway featuring crushed limestone mulch planted with colorful native plants, accent beds of dark Whittlesey mulch, dry creek bed accents of Brazos and washed river rocks, and a front walk of sawn limestone pavers and poured-in-place concrete leading to and coordinating with the driveway

At Native Edge, we thrive on designing landscapes that not only enhance the beauty of a property but also address practical challenges. Southwest Swale Way was a project that focused on intelligent drainage solutions while celebrating the natural element of rainfall, and enhancing the client's desired southwestern style. Join us as we delve into the details of this remarkable project and discover how we transformed a problematic swale into a stunning landscape feature.

Phase 1: Enhancing Functionality & Aesthetics

In the first phase, we adjusted the irrigation system, began laying the dry creek beds, and installed the sawn limestone slabs, crushed limestone rock mulch, and limestone boulders that were excavated from the site to create a patio space off the back steps and enhance the appearance of the septic field. Native grasses and tradescantia pallida are beautifully incorporated into this space.

Phase 2: Celebrating Rainfall & Creating Visual Delight

Building upon the success of Phase 1, the second phase of the project focused on enhancing the aesthetics of the landscape while emphasizing the celebration of rainfall.

The home's front high voltage utility area has been replanted with native plants that will grow to conceal the utilities while still allowing for accessibility.

The existing overwhelmed downspouts were replaced with rain chains, which not only effectively managed the water flow but also added a touch of rustic elegance that matched the home's style. To work in tandem with the rain chains, limestone slabs were installed beneath them to act as splash pads. The limestone slab beautifully matches and enhances the existing architecture of the home, as well as the materials used throughout the landscaping.

The splash pads are designed to help guide the runoff to a catch basin beneath the gravel to two 12” box drains that pipe into the drain system behind the retaining wall. The installation of mixed limestone block retaining walls with brick caps seamlessly integrated with the architectural elements of the property and employed leftover building materials from the home.

We added a poured-in-place concrete path from the entry walk extending from the sawn limestone pavers to the utilities at the side of the house to tie into the existing driveway, adding visual interest but also practicality.

The existing excavated limestone boulders were strategically repositioned throughout the landscape to not only serve as functional components but also as visually striking features to the modified design of the dry creek pathways and planted areas.

Excavated limestone boulder detail

The swales were further enhanced with a mix of washed river gravel and Brazos River gravel, creating a natural stream-like appearance while maintaining proper water movement. These pathways meander throughout the yard and lead down to the wildflower prairie at the very back of the property.

The beautiful clusters of oaks in the back were viewed as an opportunity to create native planting areas and give ease to mowing, maintenance, and irrigation, while also making these stunning trees a focal point in the design. These areas were mulched with dark Whittlesey mulch to provide visual contrast and tie in to the other landscaped accent beds around the property.

A beautiful mixture of hardscapes: dark Whittlesey mulch, sawn limestone pavers, limestone boulders excavated from the site, and a blend of washed river rock and Brazos river rock

To extend the enjoyment of the yards into the evening, we installed landscape lighting with ten unique fixtures. This included front yard foundation well lights and backyard downlights, known as “moonlighting” that beautifully and naturally illuminates the landscape features, creating a captivating ambiance that imitates the moon.

The Southwest Swale Way project exemplifies Native Edge's expertise in addressing drainage challenges while creating visually stunning landscapes. By intelligently managing water flow, incorporating rain chains, and designing functional swales, we successfully transformed a problematic area into an aesthetically pleasing feature. The use of natural materials, such as limestone boulders and diverse top dresses, added texture and visual interest.

Contact us at Native Edge to explore how we can transform your outdoor space into a sustainable oasis that celebrates both functionality and natural elements.

Mount Bonnell Native Oasis

by Dillon Tuttle / June 24, 2021

We have had the pleasure of working on multiple projects for this property over the past few years! It has been great to watch the property change and turn into the native oasis it is today! The most important aspect of this property that the owner wanted to maintain was that all the plantings were native to Central Texas. The back of the property was filled with native plantings around the pool, and the property owner wanted a cohesive look with her beds in the front yard that had become overgrown. We removed the old plants and added in some of the same native plantings that were found in her back yard. Yaupon Holly was added along the property line to provide extra privacy from the neighbors and flowering natives were clustered to make the property more pollinator friendly!

Another request from the owner was that we make the property more inviting during the evenings. We added in some outdoor lighting to highlight the trees, as well as lighting that illuminated the pathway up to the house and around the back of the property. This added a dreamy element to the space, making the property more inviting to guests.


Tarrytown Wraparound

by Rodney Stoutenger / January 30, 2021

This young family came to us looking to transform their yard into an area where they could easily entertain their guests. They were looking to add a seamless wraparound patio that meshed with the look of their existing home and garage. Concrete was chosen as the base of the patio, and was then topped with limestone slabs. A short retaining wall was added along the edge of the patio in the back to give the space more definition. Raised planters along the garage and a custom outdoor kitchen extend their living space to the outdoors. The designer chose to add lighting along the edge of the retaining wall giving the space a low, warm blanket of light. Bougainvillea was planted along the garage climbing upwards, providing a pop of color against the light coloring of the home. Holly trees were chosen to line the backyard fence, as well as the side yard along the street. This helped to provide a green wall of privacy and soften the stone facade.

[before_photos_toggle]Read More »Tarrytown Wraparound

Hudson Bend Hilltop Estate

by Dillon Tuttle / November 3, 2020

These homeowners came to us wanting to update their property with new plantings at the street, which matched the existing landscaping of the neighborhood, as well as update the various beds around their foundation. The existing beds throughout the property became overgrown and needed a bit of breathing room to allow space for the new plants to fill in. The old vegetation was ripped out and replaced with both native, and adapted plants.

The wooded area in the backyard was rid of debris, and a drainage system was added using the rocks that were in their previous landscape design. Not only were the materials able to be recycled, they are now used to help prevent continued erosion of the hillside by taking the water from the sloped driveway and giving it a path toward the woods. Limestone was the chosen replacement because it is cohesive with the neighbor’s landscaping and the pre-existing stairs in the backyard. Blocks of limestone were used to line the new beds and build a new fire pit to accessorize the beautiful view!


The Guys Had a Lot of Fun With this One!

by Rodney Stoutenger / May 12, 2017

Hope everyone enjoyed this week! The guys had a lot of fun with this one! More progress pics coming soon![igp-likes] Instagram LikesHope everyone enjoyed this week! The guys had a lot of fun with this one! More progress pics coming soon! #outdoorkitchen #firepit #limestone #masonary #landscapedesign #landscapeconstruction #landscapearchitecture #atx #atxlife #nativeedge #nativeedgelandscape

Southwest Take on California Contemporary

by Rodney Stoutenger / December 13, 2016

Updated the planting and materials to better suit the vibe of this home. The outcome... a southwest take on California contemporary![igp-likes] Instagram LikesUpdated the planting and materials to better suit the vibe of this home. The outcome... a southwest take on California contemporary! #hillcountrymodern #limestone #steel #droughttolerantisbeautiful

Progress photo from a rocky slope design with boardwalks and boulder staircases

by Rodney Stoutenger / May 27, 2016

Progress photo from a rocky slope design with boardwalks and boulder staircases. Excited for this one guys![igp-likes] Instagram LikesProgress photo from a rocky slope design with boardwalks and boulder staircases. Excited for this one guys! #lovehillcountry #thatedgesonative #limestone #boulders #cedar #boardwalks #hillsideparadise #rockon

This client has some awesome native hill country landscape

by Rodney Stoutenger / March 18, 2016

[igp-video src="" poster="" size="large"] [igp-likes] Instagram LikesThrowing it back to a nice sunny day. This client has some awesome native hill country landscape at the back of their property and I can't wait to get started on the design to emphasize and enhance what nature gave us! #nativeedgelandscape #austininspiresus #nativeedge #hillcountry #pricklypear #limestone

Awesome boulders at the edge of this property! I’m so jealous

by Rodney Stoutenger / March 18, 2016

[igp-likes] Instagram LikesAwesome boulders at the edge of this property! I'm so jealous. At least I get to help the owners enjoy it. #nativeedgelandscape #austininspiresus #creativesolutions #limestone #designisfun #nativeedge #rockingit

What do you guys think? Do these clients need a troll or some other sculpture under their deck??

by Rodney Stoutenger / March 8, 2016

What do you guys think? Do these clients need a troll or some other sculpture under their deck??[igp-likes] Instagram LikesWhat do you guys think? Do these clients need a troll or some other sculpture under their deck?? #fremonttroll #seattle #nativeedgelandscape #designattack #designerlifestyle #seattleart #westcoastinspired #bridgeart #underthebridge #underthedeck #creativesolutions #dontbebasic #wellseewhattheclientsays #limestonecity #limestone #austininspiresus