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Transforming Tranquility

Evoke Creates a Relaxing and Harmonious Outdoor Oasis

Article by Tony Firestine

Photography by HBK Photography

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

In the heart of Boulder, a hidden gem lay dormant, waiting to be revived by creative minds and skilled hands. The Serene Sanctuary project, a Japanese-inspired residence, underwent a breathtaking transformation that seamlessly blended traditional design principles with modern aesthetics. This endeavor showcases Evoke’s commitment to creating elevated spaces tailored to their clients' homes and lifestyles.

Evoke's principal designer and owner, Ashley Ingraham, describes the fusion of creativity, problem-solving and a deep connection to nature that led to her discovery of landscape design. Ashley’s early exposure to art history and a year spent as a gardener in Minneapolis ignited her passion. After obtaining a degree in landscape design, Ashley honed her skills in reputable Boulder landscaping design firms, ultimately moving to Evoke Landscaping in 2015.

The Serene Sanctuary project exemplifies Evoke's dedication to understanding their clients' visions. The initial design phase involves intensive collaboration, where Evoke's team listens attentively to the client's desires, surveys the site and creates cohesive, innovative concepts. This client-centric approach sets the stage for a design process that balances functionality and aesthetics. “We're really passionate about creating elevated spaces that are tailored to our clients’ homes and their lifestyles,” says Ashley. “We just really enjoy what we do, and I think that's what sets us apart. We're super collaborative and enthusiastic about good design.”

With Evoke's approach, functionality is the foundation, ensuring that spaces are not only visually appealing but also serve their intended purposes seamlessly. Linear pathways adorned with vibrant ground covers exemplify the delicate balance between functionality and aesthetics. The team strives to create spaces that are not merely utilitarian but also evoke emotions, turning each garden into a sensory experience. Evoke also takes pride in incorporating eco-friendly practices into their projects. From selecting climate-resilient plantings to utilizing permeable materials like gravel and decking, every decision reflects a commitment to sustainability. The emphasis on timeless, durable design aligns with the goal of creating gardens that stand the test of time, minimizing the need for constant redesigns and resource utilization.

The Serene Sanctuary project emerged as a testimonial of Evoke's creativity and commitment. The success of this particular project is a result of collaborative efforts with various artists and professionals, as well as the homeowners, John and Lisa Canova. “Honestly, best clients ever,” says Ashley. “That’s why we ended up with this incredible entry experience. I was thinking they would not go for the reflective pool, but they were all about it. They really believed in our vision and didn't want to sacrifice the overall intent of the design. The space feels truly magical because of that.” One of the project's highlights is the integration of a reflective pool, creating a dramatic approach to the front door. The pool, alongside floating stone steps and decks framed with oxidized steel planters, transforms the space into a haven of calm. The harmonious blend of materials elevates the residence, giving it a modern touch while staying true to its roots.

Nicolas Fiore from Flower Architecture played a pivotal role in modernizing the house. Nicolas incorporated horizontal screens that complemented the overall vision and spearheaded a reorientation of the house's entry by turning it into a middle-level experience that felt like ascending rather than descending. Other local artisans, such as Morningstar Homes and Earthwood Design, added their touch to the project, contributing to its seamless execution. The overgrown, outdated space was reimagined to reflect Japanese design principles, with a focus on tranquility and simplicity. Custom 10-foot pivoting gates from Earthwood Design define the threshold, creating a sense of ingress and intrigue. Japanese maple trees and oxidized steel complement the Asian-inspired architecture, contributing to the zen atmosphere.

As Evoke celebrates its continued success in the industry, the journey continues to unfold. With an unwavering commitment to collaboration, innovation and sustainability, Evoke looks ahead to crafting more outdoor spaces that transcend expectations. The Serene Sanctuary project stands as a testament to their ability to transform ordinary landscapes into extraordinary sanctuaries, leaving an indelible mark on Boulder's architectural landscape. "We're just really excited about working with other like-minded creatives, whether it's architects, builders or clients,” says Ashley. “The whole process of seeing things come to life is really fun." Evoke’s passion for creating harmonious, timeless outdoor spaces will continue to leave a lasting impression on both clients and the industry at large.