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).

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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.

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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.