For this revamp, the clients asked for more color and interest for their small front yard. They wanted to soften the hard surfaces of the retaining wall and the bare side of the garage. They pictured plants growing up below and trailing over the top of the wall, and a vine covering the side of the garage. I added more stone to retain the soil, and drought tolerant plants with colorful flowers and foliage. Grasses filled the space out. The color scheme was yellows, purples and blues.
San Francisco Excelsior Garden
The clients thought that their small front garden needed a tree, to give the space some height. We selected a Princess tree, with intense purple flowers. More purple and cream plants add further contrast against the dark green and brown color of the house. Finally, I planted an evergreen Clematis to soften the metal railing.
In the backyard, the clients wanted a colorful and inviting family garden. We saved the existing elements of a water fountain, a red Japanese Maple, and a Meyer Lemon tree. However, the fences surrounding on three sides dominated the space. I added a gravel path, vines, a dry creek bed, and some smaller shrubs to transform the space into a sanctuary. Later the clients added chickens.
Albany back lawn removal
To cut down on their water use during the drought, the clients wanted to replace their lawn with a small gravel patio. They also wanted something more attractive to look at than a dead lawn! I left two patches of grass for their cats to nibble on. The curvy perimeter gives the patio an interesting shape, and enhances the existing plant beds.
Piedmont CA Native Garden
The clients had a very clear view of what they wanted, and were already gardening with California native plants. They asked me for guidance with design and plant choices that would attracted bees, butterflies, and birds.
First, I suggested adding more levels to the existing mounded areas, and brought in more rock for definition. We decided to keep the non-native blue sage which was flourishing, as well as the rose climbing the front of the house. We added hummingbird sage, huckleberry, coffeeberry, Ceanothus, ground cover, and succulents. After the install, I sprinkled native annual wild flower seed around. A Redbud tree acts as a screen for a seating area in the middle of the garden, where the clients can sit on Redwood stumps and watch the wildlife and birds visiting the bird bath.
The garden was featured on the 2016 Bringing Back the Natives Garden tour. It is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation
Potrero Hill Garden
The garden was designed to be see from within the apartments overlooking the deck. The clients wanted planting to soften up the large deck covering the rocky hillside. There were planters below and around the deck. I planted shade-loving plants on the lower level and a rocky, gravel hill interspersed with plantings to transition from the lower to upper levels. Ground covers were planted to cascade over the wall. For the sunny areas surrounding the deck, the idea was to match the colors and styles of plants used in the lower Japanese-style shady area, using sun-loving plants. I used Dwarf Pomegranate, Euphorbias, Sages, Barberry and vines to cover the fences.
Inner Sunset Front Yard
These busy academics with small children didn't have much time to spend on their garden. For the redesign of their small front yard, they requested a pretty garden to come home to that would incorporate culinary herbs.
Starting with the existing weeping Cedar, I rearranged the boulders, and added a dry stream bed. I planted Rosemary, Thyme, and Parsley, as well as some colorful drought and shade tolerant shrubs and ground covers to creep over the rocks.
Berkeley Front Yard
The clients requested drought tolerant, California native plants and plants attractive to bees and butterflies, being keen Naturalists.
Ann, who had a great interest in botany and plants, worked with me closely to pick out the plants she liked. She saw the plans, but unfortunately passed away before the garden could be installed. Her husband and children decided to go ahead with the garden as a memorial to her.
We applied for the lawn rebates from EBMUD and the State of California and worked with their plant lists to make sure that the garden qualified.
Mounds were created to ensure good drainage for sensitive plants such as the Desert willow and Manzanita. And a flagstone path was added crossing the garden, to lead from the front steps to the driveway.
Installed by Christie Reed.
Alameda CA Native Garden
This mostly California Native Plant garden was installed in Fall 2016.
Robin had a very clear view of what she wanted and we made the most of the small back yard. Reducing the size of the deck to include a patio area entertaining.
A Frank Lloyd Wright sculpture was chosen as a focal point, with the back drop of an attractive green wall.
Kensington Front Yard
There were some existing mature trees and shrubs, and the beds and borders were outlined and ready to be planted. The client wanted colorful and interesting plantings. We added some stone to retain soil on the slopes. And we reused existing planters, planting new plants to add interest to the patio.