It's an Art

Creating Enduring Outdoor Living Spaces with TLC Gardens

Article by Lisa Van Horne

Photography by David Winger Photo Art

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

When Cheri Stringer founded Boulder’s TLC Gardens in 2005, she did it with a singular driving force at heart—elevating lives. Whether it’s through enhancing the lives of the company’s clients by creating their ideal outdoor living spaces or through the continual development and support of team members, it’s a principle that continues to hold true today.

“We’re in the business of helping people live their best lives,” says Cheri, founder, partner and chief technical officer with TLC Gardens. “It’s a mission that we take very seriously, and it includes discovering what really sings and speaks to our clients so that we can ensure our designs are meaningful, valuable and lasting.”

TLC Gardens is a design-build firm that expertly weaves engineering, architecture and artistry into each of its projects. It’s a holistic approach that bridges both technical and creative disciplines, as designs take into account elements such as structure, space, relation, view corridors, flow patterns and the functional requirements necessary to make them all sustainable. Having grown up in a family full of architects and engineers, Cheri rediscovered her passion for these dual practices and integrates their intersection into all of her designs.

This conjunction of art and function is put on stunning display at Gallagher Farm, a recent Boulder County renovation project undertaken by the TLC Gardens team. A historic three-generation farm property, the project involved elevating the home’s outdoor spaces to better match and support its interior upgrades.

“When we first visited the site, I was inspired by the beautiful mid-century modern updates that had been made inside the home,” says Cheri. “It’s a property with rich and unique topography, views, history, water features and farm equipment, and we sought to make the exterior spaces truly memorable while honoring the home’s sense of place.”

The property’s high water table likewise called for purposeful engineering to manage the watershed and drain water off-site—ensuring the spaces were not just enduring in their aesthetic appeal, but also in their technical water management.

The numerous steel elements integrated into the property are unique design features that also embody the dual function and aesthetic prowess of the site. From the ornamental steel fencing to the mailbox and other custom steelwork, they are some of Cheri’s personal favorite details of the project.

The integration of these structural and water management systems, combined with design principles of scale, view corridors and space dynamics, facilitates peak outdoor cooking, dining, gathering and entertaining, all with inimitable style and seamless natural connections.

“It’s hard to describe the nuance of designing to achieve a sense of place,” says Cheri. “Any outdoor living space has a number of layers that all work together to form a space of real meaning and value, and it’s a goal we look to achieve with all of our designs.”

Where Artistry Meets Engineering: Three Keys to Enduring Outdoor Design

1.      Integrate expert water management and engineering principles

2.      Use design principles of scale and proportion

3.      Incorporate unique, yet synonymous artistic elements

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