William J. Ripley, APLD
July 2012
APLD Member of the Month

Our project and client resides in the Village of Indian Hill, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Village is known for its above average size lots, wooded acreage and extensive bridle trails that are woven throughout the hills, forests and rolling meadows.  Our client’s site was typical of the Village.

Our client is a single business woman whose passions are threefold: riding her horse Sherman, entertaining, and gardening.  Our client’s wish list included a new driveway and front walk, fencing and arbor (to create an outdoor room), a new deck and patio, a spa, a place to sit around a fire, a new bridge to span her natural dry stream bed, a walking path through her wooded hillside, and access to an existing stable were she could keep her horse for short durations, (the horse boards elsewhere).

My design intent was simple: Include her needs & wants and exceed her expectations for an outdoor living space.

The project actually started as a facelift for the front of her small cape cod and eventually, because of the wholistic nature of the design process, evolved into a comprehensive project that incorporated renovation to the exterior and interior of the home.   Dormers where built, new shake siding was installed, and the home was painted.  New custom shutters with custom wrought iron hardware were designed and installed all to create a completely new appearance.

In the front yard, a custom built fence and gate was designed with a balustrade design reminiscent and classic of many homes located within the village.  Two iron horse busts were installed on the two posts adjacent to the gate.  The same structural design found in the fence panels was echoed in the trellis panels spanning the posts of the arbor.  A six foot wide antiqued clay brick walk leads friends and family from the cobble lined ‘Brassfield’ gravel driveway, past the quiet sunken seating area located beneath a new arbor and an old water oak, to the newly renovated front entrance.  Repurposed granite curbs were installed as steps to accommodate the grade change between the walk and patio area.

A new multi-level, multi-functional deck was installed at the rear of the house. Again, the balustrade design was echoed in the railings and trellis panels that wrapped the deck.  Privacy panels were constructed on the east side of the deck so that our client might enjoy her spa or a private dinner.  Fieldstone walls and steps leading to the lower yard were built to support a new exposed aggregate patio and planting beds located above.  The lower yard was designed with meandering woodland paths that carry one through the hidden fire ring room, down the hill, across the new “old looking” wooden bridge into well maintained pasture where the Sherman’s stable is located.   The bridge was constructed using telephone poles for beams, off-cut pieces of red oak (acquired from a local saw mill) for planking, hickory logs (found on the property) for hand rail posts, and woven willow branches for the handrail.  The bridge can be seen from house as well as from the hidden fire ring located to the western side of the yard beneath a very small clearing of trees.   The fire pit was purchased from a local blacksmith and placed among old Adirondack chairs and tree stumps.  On the east side of the home, a second woodchip path was created to allow access to the rear yard for Sherman’s visits.  A grouping of Southern Magnolias was planted between the path and property line to create more privacy from the neighbor’s noisy dogs.

As the designer I was involved in every detail of the project from plant selection to choosing paint colors for the home.  I was also involved in the overall project management of the project to assure that the design intent was met.  The project could not, however, have turned out as good as it did if it were not for the total and complete collaboration that occurred between all the people involved.

William J. RipleyWilliam J. Ripley, APLD, LEED GA is an award winning landscape designer with thirty years of experience in the green industry.  Bill holds a BS in Biology / Botany from Cleveland State University.  He has been a Certified Member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers since 1996 and a long standing member of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA).

Bill is committed to excellence in landscape design.  He possesses a broad range of experience with particular strengths in the areas of structural elements, surfaces, specialty gardens, swimming pools and water features.  His qualitative approach to design creates outdoor living environments that last for generations.

Client satisfaction is Bill’s number one priority.  His unique design-build process guides each client from the beginning to the end of each project, melding their needs and wants with his own professional experiences and particular attention to detail.  Bill currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife Lisa.

You can learn more about Bill's business at www.billripley.com.