California Hillside Landscape (to gather friends and family)

One of the things I love about design is the role it plays in in a landscape’s transition.  Design is the process by which we start to create a dialog around possibilities that exist only in our imaginations.

For instance, here is a design I created for clients who had a neglected terraced area along the side of their home.  




The clients wanted to imagine this underutilized side yard as a play area for friends and family.  Our goal was to retain some of the original character — the California live oak, the steps between the terraces, and the driveway system (the driveway is above the patio).


We developed three primary gathering areas — the base patio that rolls into lawn, supported by a 3’foot retaining wall.  On the second level is an area for seating and mingling.  The concrete supports a driveway — notice the pilings — so we wanted to work with something functionally essential and cloak it in nature, thus the bougainvillea garden spaces.


In this design, we worked within the existing boundary system, but rearranged how they defined the use of space within.  The result is that we have a design that looks as if it developed over time, paying homage to the natural slope of the land, yet carving out a niche for human space and enjoyment.