Fully utilizing & enjoying outdoor spaces!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Welcome Change

A Garden Studio Before and After

Backyard before.......

Backyard after.......

When Garden Studio was approached to help out this yard we were confronted with a common complaint, 'I never go into my backyard, I want to make use of my outdoor space!' Time and again we hear this story-line and this installation is a great example of why I love what I do. Before this re-do the yard was defined by a poorly placed outdoor kitchen, a grass area bordered by over grown tropical plants and a dull patio with an old teak table set. To some, this scenario might sound all too familiar. Garden Studio came on board and created a series of outdoor destinations that implore you to go outside. The trick is 'food, fire and water'. Our nature as humans is still so primal. I believe we are instinctively drawn to these basic elements. Who does not yearn to sit in a comfortable chair near a fire and chat with good friends? And when have you ever been to a party where people were not gathered around the kitchen area anticipating a meal? And who can resist a body of water on a hot day or even the sound of a tranquil fountain?

Pool area before.....

Pool area after.....

In all honesty the homeowners did use this grass area for a number of years. It was a great place for little kids to run and play. But as their household grew the grass was no longer useful. The new pool is like a vacation at home for this family of five with a Golden Retriever who takes a swim daily.

We used texture throughout this landscape to counter-balance the simple Ranch Style home that is dominated by white smooth stucco. This stone veneer brought out the warm browns and greys of the home's interior. The veneer is called Montana Rockworks, McGregor Lake Ledge and is available at Thompson's Building Materials.

To further create a tranquil setting and to connect the pool area to the deep seat area we built a trough fountain to feed a flow of water to the pool. This fountain feature is artfully placed at the end of an entry courtyard drawing the visitor into the backyard space. I always believe that each space should feed into the next to create flow and movement through a garden landscape.

The tile choice is called Sumi-e Stacked 1/2" x 1"
glass tile Sendai Silk with a 'natural edge'.

The natural texture of the tile against the smooth concrete coping, the color by Davis is called Mesa Buff, helped with the effort to balance simple surfaces with texture.

For the pool bottom the homeowners chose a 'Midnight Blue' Pebble Tec. This is both a practical and aesthetic choice. Pebble Tec has a rougher finish than typical pool plaster and is popular because it lasts longer. The effect is a deep blue oasis.

Pebble Tec colors can be customized. We chose to exclude the red and green pebble colors for this pool and got a slightly more grey blue color as a result.

The Deep Seat Fire Pit area feeds directly off the family's living space. A large French Door Slider was installed to help create a generous flow to this inviting space that can hold up to 6-8 people around the fire.

The tan Smooth Stucco, Omega #405, brings a warm sandy color that plays off the Slate hardscape patio. 4" Trough Planters with Coral Sea gravel are planted with Echervia, Sedum and Ajuga.

We chose bright green plant foliage like this Aoenium to add pop.

Kitchen before.......

Kitchen after.....

Before the remodel the Outdoor Kitchen was poorly placed. The oversized counter was right in the middle of the patio blocking flow and making the yard feel disjointed. We moved the whole space to the edge of the patio so that it is useful but not the dominant feature of the yard.

The Courtyard before.......

Courtyard after.......

The Courtyard before the remodel was plain and dull. Fresh new concrete and an architectural stone wall along with a fountain breathed new life into the space and gave the entry into the house instant elegance. We sourced this fountain from Garden Temple in Studio City.

The fountain bubbles and sounds like a babbling brook. Although simple this sculptural fountain is carved out of basalt and adds an organic element to the space.

Front Entry before.......

Front Entry after.........

Prior to the remodel the Front Entry hardscaping was an old grey concrete with steps that were uninspired. We re-laid the paving in a 'sand finish' concrete in a warm tan color, Davis 'Mesa Buff'. Detail was added to the steps by allowing a 4" separation between which was planted with Sedum and Ajuga.

To add even more texture we placed piles of rocks around
the planters and at the base of the fountain.

This 1"-2" rock is called 'Buff Beach' and is available in most building supply outlets.

We included an outdoor shower in this install. It comes in handy after a day at the beach.

This outdoor remodel though simple and neutral adds almost 2000 square feet of elegant living and entertaining space. With texture as our inspiration Garden Studio transformed an undervalued yard into a space that invites friends and family to relax and unwind.