Trees go with buildings. Old suburbs have old trees and old houses. Old houses sit graciously on their land. They need complementary space. There are floor systems that can allow a root system to grow and remain healthy with soil aeration and water infiltration. You would be surprised how willing some builders are to work around trees – don’t accept that you need a blank slate to build. A building can be very close to a tree, workers can respect and understand what it needs for protection during works. Let your garden be an ecosystem rather than an image. This project started out with a large expanse of grass and the design was marked out to allow two very close trees to remain, from the beginning. You see works in progress around the trees. One is a young pomegranate very close to the framing - and you see it again four years later after the extension is well established. The other tree relevant (because it was kept not cut down though right near the site) is a Rottnest Island tea tree near the end wall. They helped shape the design. Designing to suit a site is more akin to custodianship than market-based feasibility. This includes consideration to suit of local indigenous rock, soil, plants, cultural memory and local history. This is what I mean by site sensitivity or site specificity (inspired by George Seddon). It is great to find a building company who has a deep sensibility about this.
When it comes to a larger development at the mercy of the market, I have a tale of despair to tell. Click here to read my essay on a sustainable, passive solar custom development versus a project builder development.