All Blog Entries by Robert Leeper

Robert Leeper is a nationally recognized landscape design professional serving clients throughout the U.S., including Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Robert can be reached at 415-322-9254 or 512-751-4642. 

Found 5 blog entries published by Robert Leeper.

And now for something completely different . . . An Italian villa's garden!

You may be asking why I would suddenly depart from mid-century modernism to talk about a garden that was started in the 1400s. Well, mid century modernism never would have happened without gardens like this one. Here are three reasons why I am dicussing this garden.

First, I am going to be giving a slideshow presentation about the garden at Villa Gamberaia (outside of Florence, Italy) on Thursday, October 7th at 7:30pm. It will be held at the Tiburon-Belvedere Library on Tiburon Boulevard, and you are invited. The second reason is to let you in on a little secret about the garden - and gardening in general. More on that later. And third, garden design throughout history is a

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This is a continuation of a previous blog, where I wrote about landscape ideas for an Eichler home in Marin. Last time, we focused on the front. And now, on to the courtyard!
One the most important exterior parts of many mid-century modern house is the courtyard space. Not every home has a courtyard, of course, and some have atriums, which is generally an indoor space.

Wiki had this to say about courtyards:
"Courtyards—private open spaces surrounded by walls or buildings — have been in use in residential architecture for almost as long as people have lived in constructed dwellings.

The central uncovered area in a Roman domus was referred to as an atrium. Today, we generally use the term courtyard to refer to such an area, reserving the word…
16,881 Views, 1 Comment

Whenever people ask me, "How do you figure out what to do?", my first response is, "I don't really know, it's mostly intuitive at this point." But the reality is that there is a whole lot of theory, education, travel, exposure, reading and practice that goes into how any designer comes up with ideas of what to do with a property.

From my education - at LSU, in Baton Rouge - we were taught that the design comes from 3 places: first, the style of the home (no sense going against what you have, and also a desire to integrate the architecture and the landscape), second, what the land can actual do (this is what is now called sustainability, meaning what can really grow in a cetain place, not require vast resources, and last a lifetime) and third, what

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Robert Burle Marx holds a special place in the development of modernism in the field of landscape architecture. Often times in books - and in my professor's history courses - he was set apart from others of the same period. In Elizabeth Rogers' book, Landscape Design, she gives him his own sub-chapter: Roberto Burle Marx and the Garden as Abstract Art.

Wikipedia says:

    "Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil combined the International Style and native Brazilian plants and culture for a new aesthetic. "

That sums it up nicely - a new aesthetic. He was - and still is - so unique, that he stands out as a iconic master in the profession. His works are iconic also, especially the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.


His paving patterns are often

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The first thing I thought about writing for this blog was a brief history of landscape design during the Mid-Century Modern period. Whenever I need to learn - or refresh my learning - about landscape design, I turn to Elizabeth Barlow Rogers' encyclopedic masterpiece, Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History. If it isn't in there, it hasn't happened yet! And even though her website says it took her ten years to write, I secretly think it must have taken twenty - this book weighs a ton, and has over 500 pages of very dense text and hundreds of pictures. If you want to learn anything about landscape architecture, this is your textbook!

My other favorite resource is the remarkable Cultural Landscape Foundation whose mission is "dedicated

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