Project Summary

Home Outside created two alternate landscape design solutions for this residential California property. While the two designs are quite different in layout and style, both achieve the homeowners’ desire for a family-friendly outdoor space with a coastal aesthetic.

Check out the plan notes below to learn more about Home Outside’s design solutions!

Landscape Design A Plan Notes

Sculptural blue agave evenly spaced with a base of short, dark groundcover provides a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant planting strip along sidewalk.
Refinish entry retaining wall in dark plaster. Stain and seal redwood fence a warm, natural color to complement the dark finish of the retaining wall. Medium-height plantings beyond soften the elevation of wall and fence, composing a welcoming view from the street.
Refinish or replace concrete entry stairs in dark concrete to match retaining walls.
Flexible outdoor seating area upon permeable gravel paving in a warm California gold color to complement warm tones of the home. Drought-tolerant native flowers and shrubs create a screen from the street, while providing cut flowers that can be used in the home.
Replace existing brick pathway with concrete steppers leading to front door across the front lawn. Lawn contained with short hedges, headers, and gravel paving for a clean, architectural look.
Short hedge used to contain the edge of the lawn acts as a base for the existing deck and home. The shrubbery also screens the space beneath the deck, creating a storage area accessible from the west side of the garden.
An L-shaped couch provides additional outdoor seating while shaping an inviting entry. Potted plants soften the corners of the deck and offer added interest. The front door can be stained a warm color to match the fence, tying together site and structure.
Steppers with planted joints continue from the front walk around the side of the home, organizing a clear connection to the back garden. Hedges strategically planted at window locations make varied and interesting interior views while providing privacy.
Existing deck opens into an inviting gravel outdoor garden room. Above, linear planters provide an opportunity for children to grow annuals, pumpkins, and sunflowers.
The large back lawn provides flexible space for outdoor activities and play space for children. String lights ensure that the new outdoor spaces are usable at all times of the day.
Views from interior are captured in tall clipped hedges to optimize privacy from neighboring properties. Hedges of varying species and flowering seasons create unique views from different rooms in the home.
Under the existing tree, outdoor couches are centered on a cast-in-place concrete table to form an outdoor living room. A cast-in-place seat wall retains the grade at the existing pepper tree and provides additional seating around a new grass fire pit. Potted plants add interest and help define the edges of the space. Gravel paving is a flexible, low-maintenance, and permeable surfacing.
Tall clipped hedges planted offset from each other work to screen the garage and also create a landscape wall to define the back edge of the garden while establishing an intimate and private space.
Existing unused space between garages screened by tall hedges becomes a large storage area for bikes, toys, and garden equipment.
Dense planting able to withstand the high use of the alley softens the edge of the property. Screening plantings with dense foliage and a sturdy structure will help deter people from occupying the space.

Landscape Design B Plan Notes

Planting strip at the street planted with a mix of ornamental and wispy grasses to create a very low-maintenance garden. Areas strategically paved with brick to create access to street and parked cars.
Existing retaining wall refinished in a smooth plaster painted a cool gray. Redwood boards stained silvery gray to create a contemporary beach aesthetic.
Refinish or replace concrete entry stairs in smooth concrete to complement the retaining walls. A new arbor at the top of the stairs creates an architectural entry. Maintaining the existing brick walkway preserves a historic element from the original site.
California native plants establish a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant garden that will provide year-round interest. Small trees such as Olive or Western Redbud in large planters create sculptural elements within the planting beds and define a mid-canopy layer in the garden.
A small gravel seating area greets guests when entering the garden. A bubbling fountain creates soft noise to drown out the sounds of the street beyond.
A large sweeping curved front lawn takes advantage of the south-facing site and provides a space large enough for family activities and events.
Outdoor sofa and love seat offer space for lounging beneath the dappled shade of a potted tree. A front door with large glass windows encourages connection between interior and front patio.
Strategically placed hedges framing the sides of the house establish privacy.
Existing deck with BBQ and dining space on one end, and fire table seating area at the other. A brick pathway leads to the garage entry matching the brick walkway in the front of the home. Above, raised planters provide a sense of enclosure without blocking views and provide space for raising vegetables while keeping soil and plants out of reach of pets. Among the planters is space for a children’s table, chairs, and a bench.
Medium-height bamboo or delicate screen planting is used to softly frame the garden, making for a quiet and private oasis. A small patio tucked into the edge of the garden creates a secret garden for kids to play in or space to escape and read a book.
Scented flowers and vegetables frame the edge of the existing deck with a utility access path beyond.
A sweep of new lawn creates the impression of a larger space. Lights can be strung from the existing tree to highlight the sculptural form of the branches. Larger shrubs planted beneath the pepper tree can mitigate the issues of poor sod growth and preserve the grade below the tree. A small gap in bamboo frames an access point to the back of the garden and storage area.
Existing unused space between garages can be screened by tall plantings to make a large storage area for bikes, toys and garden equipment.
Vehicular brick pavers match entry walkway, back gate entry, and path to the garage, tying together the spaces with material continuity.
Vines trained on a chain-link fence are a low-maintenance and sturdy solution for the heavy uses of the alley while making additional secure space.

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