Zest for Discriminating Style

By Amy Diehl | Photos by Johan Roetz/Vision Photography
Housetrends | Summer 2004 | Vol 2, Issue 2

Palatial estate features a distinctly European landscape designed with fun in mind.

Fredrickexterior 036

When Tom Frederick bought his 16-acre site for his new home, the property he had to work with was a tangled mass of undergrowth. “You couldn’t see the lake,” Tom says. It was hidden under piles of grapevines, fallen cypress logs, Caesar weed and hundreds of Melaluca trees. Piles of garbage and loads of old tires were found throughout the site. Since then, there has been a wonderful change of scene.

The home that Tom and his wife Jennifer bult on their land is stately with a markedly European feeling. Elm trees line the long, winding driveway set in bobbled pavers that ends in a circular courtyard drive at the front of the home. in the center of that courtyard sits a formal, cast stone Neptune fountain from Florence, Italy. Rearing horses and spouting fish circle below with the Roman god Neptune holding court at its center. Formal plantings of boxwood, Blue Rug juniper and a variety of flowering annuals ring the base of the fountain. The plantings combined with the marble benches, rope edging and raked pea gravel beds all work to create an elegant style reminiscent of the formal gardens found in France and Italy.

Fredrickexterior 013Classical elements are found throughout this property. A white marble gazebo, imported form Rome, sits near the tennis court offering a lovely shade retreat.Another gazebo is located off the kitchen and outdoor grill area providing a handy outdoor eating area.

Bronze urns and classical statuary grace the gardens. Spires of Italian cypress flank the formal pool with its beige marble pavers and spouting jets of water. Low boxwood plantings add contrast. Bedding plants add punches of color, but overall this area is fairly simple, allowing the pool and water jets to be the focal point as ween from the home’s rear veranda. Beyond the pool, the expanse of green lawn leads to the lake edge where cypress trees and native water plants frame the lovely view.

“Our favorite part of the property is the backyard, because it is very serene and relaxing. The one thing we tried to do was keep the larger environment natural while keeping the house formal in style, ” Tom says.

Many mature cypress trees grow along the lakefront and Tom and his groundskeeper, Charlie Brusovich, have planted several hundred more small cypress and native ferns along the shore to blend with the lake’s natural beauty.

Fredrickexterior 022Once away from the house proper, there is a different sense of place. A tour of the property in Tom’s vintage German Haflinger, an old military communications vehicle, shows a fanciful realm designed for fun. Off to the left of the house is the tennis court, an asphalt court with five layers of rubber sushi on coating. To the right of the property is a regulation size beach volleyball court.

“It’s geared toward friends and family and having fun,” says Tom of his home. “Without leaving the property we can play tennis, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, horseshoes, jet skiing and ultimate golf.”

The 18-hole ultimate golf course, played with special clubs and whiffle balls, comes complete with hazards, the most fearsome of which is the family golden retriever. Tom and Jennifer often host large casual get-togethers of friends and family compete with kids and dogs.

Tom, who is the owner of Zeno Office Solutions in Tampa, credits Ryan Hughes and the landscape architects of The Hughes Group for the success of the property design. The Hughes Group handled everything from the landscaping design, sprinkler system and night lighting to the driveway ad pool deck pavers, along with assembly and installation of the imported fountain and gazebos.

Fredrickinteriorphotos 024“The Fredericks wanted to design an estate, not just put landscaping around the house,” Ryan notes. He explains that a large part of this project involved “the things you never see like grading and preparation.” Having one company handling so many aspects of a project this size meant less complications and smoother transition of work. Ryan worked closely with Tom and Jennifer to make sure they got what they wanted. “The property was designed for fun and entertaining,” notes Ryan.

Because tom has a great interest in plants, many appealing specimen plants have been added to the design. A water loving weeping willow tree was planted close to the lakeside. A purple flowering jacaranda and yellow flowering Golden Rain tree were planted in close proximity. The Nuttall Oak tree blazes a fiery red in the fall. A big vegetable garden is in the works on the far side of the tennis court.

Tom and Jennifer loe fresh fruit, especially blueberries. To that effect, a large planting of blueberry bushes was put into the landscape. According to Charlie, “in a few years, they will never hav ego buy another blueberry.” The Fredericks have also planted mango, citrus, avocado and papaya trees, and a grape arbor is being built as well.

This beautiful property entices visitors to explore and experience its many special places. It has the elegant, classical pool and fountain. It has tennis, volleyball and other game areas for the competitive types. It has groves of trees for wandering and gardens for beauty and food. And, it has the lake for quite contemplation after the guests have gone home.

Posted in Articles, Housetrends