We spent today on a new site - D5. It's somewhere (in Godalming) between 25-30 acres (double digits, folks).
The house was built in 1954 so it's not that old. And the style of architecture is Queen Anne, I do believe (rectangle with four flat sides, all symmetrical). There's an existing small back terrace, a tennis court, paddocks (horses pastures), open fields, stable and storage sheds, and a couple types of woods...and a stream on the far southern boundary. Most everything will be worked, reworked, or re-done with the exception of much of the wooded areas...some land just shouldn't be intervened with too much, if at all.
It's a calm site - nothing too dramatic happening though there is good grade change across the landscape as it slopes away and down with great views to the south from the back of the home to hills beyond.
I really enjoyed the visit and am pleased to be working out a design for this land that seems to be ambling along. I want to amble with it. The wood's are pleasant to visit and explore and are not eerie at all. I like to wander in raw places, so naturally - when we were left to experience the site solo...I headed straight for the lesser visited areas and discovered some gems. I have a few photographs of my finds...which will probably end up inspiring me in the design. Who knows.
I DO LOVE exploring. It is my play. Coming to a new site allows me to do just that, especially one this big. I am not looking for anything in particular when I explore, I wait to see what finds me. There were a few places I came across today that enchanted me and I just wanted to stay for awhile. Really you need a good few hours to explore a place like this one. Probably at least 3. 4 Ideal and even then! (Where's the tent).
I never know how I will design a site when I leave the first visit. During that first encounter I meet the site, and it meets me - but I make no definite decisions. I do notice views (good and ill) - things I may want to enhance or remove or replace. And it's usually during the first visit that I understand the feeling or emotion which I want to capture in the design..though I see no lines on the ground...
You can't replace the first visit, or recreate it. You can't have firsts twice. They only happen once. So my advice is to take time, plenty of time the first time you arrive to a site to really understand your first impression. And to leave a good first impression on the land as well.
My treasures from today: