Kudlata started with just a tiny
patio and lots of grass, according to Carmen. Both Habermans
wanted their yard to give them privacy; Bill has always dreamed of
living in the country. One of us would like to live in the
country and one in the city so this yard is our compromise.
Yes, it is hard to have privacy in the city without a fence. Furthermore
Carmen said, who wants to look at a driveway and a garage?
She was a wonderful customer to
work for, said Kudlata. We talked about the potential and
the Habermans understood the landscape was to be secondary to the
building. They wanted to keep it understated and formal in the
front and in the back they wanted to create an outdoor room, a
very private space.
The yard has more than fulfilled
their expectations but Carmen laughed and said, I wasnt so
sure the day I came home from work and saw how much they were
digging. It was so deep I thought they got mixed up and instead of
a patio, they were putting in a pool.
The Habermans were familiar with
Kudlatas work; theyd used his services at their former
Whitefish Bay residence. According to Carmen, Peter was always
a good problem solver and over time we built a high level of trust
in his competence. When they moved to Shorewood they called
Kudlata and put the project into his hands.
Habermans aesthetic taste is
specific; she has worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum for 20 years.
Both she and her husband wanted to be a part of the design
The Haberman home is eclectic,
artful, filled with antiques, oriental rugs and contemporary art.
The landscape in the backyard is an extension of both the interior
and the exterior of the home. As the plan for the yard evolved,
the Habermans discussed Kudlatas recommendations and together
tinkered with the plan.
Peter knew me well enough to
know what I would enjoy and what I would respond to, Carmen
said, and I trusted hed do something of quality and stand
behind it. He tapped into my aesthetics.
Kudlatas work, in his words, is
client oriented. It takes him four to five weeks to do the
design work, then he hands a draft over to a draftsman who takes
my design map and makes me look good. Hell usually go
through two or three revisions often based on the clients monetary
or aesthetic choices or both. Unlike many landscape architects,
Kudlata works out his design with paper and pencil. I have to
feel it before I can draw it.
The front yard design is a
traditional line of trimmed yews, underplanted with ivy and
anchored by two magnolias. A herringbone brick entrance walk leads
to the white pillared front entrance. This formal statement,
appropriately wedded to the home, adds to the surprise when one
steps through the gate from the driveway into the informality of
the rest of Kudlatas design. Kudlatas plantings follow the
curves and arches in the lines of the brick patio. At the
Habermans request, he kept the large conifers on the west side
of the yard but added cedars to balance them on the east. When
I work the house directs me and since this was a symmetrical
house, I had choices, said Kudlata, but I had to keep the
front entrance more formal while I made the back more natural.
It was important to the Habermans
to screen out the driveway with a fence and to wrap the yard so
they couldnt see the other homes.
The additions of a cedar fence and
an arbor to keep the garage and the driveway out of sight were an
important part of the plan. Kudlata softened the fence with
several levels of plantings, added an herb garden close to the
kitchen and placed a limestone slab between two sections of a
brick patio to alert guests to the need to step one step up or
I created a private space for
the family to look out at from inside,
Kudlata continued. Theyll see
blooms and a layered landscape with trees, shrubs, and perennials.
He continued, I dont like to see a lot of bark. I prefer to
see it lush and green when I combine intimate and large spaces.
Carmen has since experimented with
both annuals and perennials and she hauls the hose around a lot
in the summer. Now, she said, we have another room where
we eat and relax all summer.