JobSight: Growing All Natural

“Lighting can make or break a fountain,” she contends. “When you’re driving on a country highway and you look through the pastoral, well-manicured topography of the land toward the house, the fountain looks like a beacon of light with water emitting from it. It’s just the most-magical thing to see at night, and it’s a very big statement for the overall effect of the property.”


While Davis was fine-tuning the use of stone within the home’s interior, the Letos turned to a Hammond, La.-based landscape architect to help do the same thing on the exterior.

200_Bella Dura  Sisal paving  Ostra Limestone columnsClick photo to enlargeRoy Dufreche, principal of Roy T. Dufreche and Associates Inc., originally worked on the property when the Letos were first weighing where to place their new home on their 300-acre parcel.

“We helped them site the house,” Dufreche explains. “Mark Leto called me very early on, when they were talking about where the road ought to go. I spent time with them walking the property and giving them some ideas about what I thought and where the home might best be situated.”

Dufreche hoped to do additional work on the project. Construction of the home was well underway before he was again contacted by Mark Leto, mainly for placing a pool behind the house.

As with the home itself, Dufreche says once he became involved in planning the landscaping, “things started to take on a life of their own.”

Rather than just a simple pool area, Dufreche says the Mediterranean architectural of the home seemed to call for a formalized back garden.

“Then, they talked about a glass greenhouse, and how they wanted a guest house with an exercise room,” he says. “We ended up dealing with them on multiple levels. Not only did we include the pool and the hardscape and multi-level terraces, but with focal structures and arbors and the design siting of the guest house, and envisioning how all those things might work together.”

Again, that’s where the Bella Dura stone stepped to the fore.

“The stone is a real traditional material for Mediterranean exterior spaces,” says Dufreche. “We took the stonework outdoors as paving and pool coping and balustrades. In short, we took everything they did in the front and through the house and into their backyard, so there’s a real strong consistency of material.”

Dufreche also supplied the design for the front auto court for visual consistency and complementing the look of the home.

“The auto court and the big formal circle are part of trying to put things in scale,” he observes. “This is a gigantic house – three stories tall – and how you approach it is really important.