Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


A Redwood City Garden

I don’t know about following the master with one of our own gardens, but the same day as I visited the Tommy Church garden, I also took photos at a garden we installed three years ago in Redwood City. The house is on the market, so this was a good opportunity to photograph it.

It was a good opportunity, but it also a farewell to the garden, too. Before I started working in gardens, I really had no idea how often Americans move. The statistics say that 1 in 5 Americans move every year, and it sometimes seems that 1 in 5 of our clients move every year as well. The real estate listing called this an ‘Oh, Wow’ Rear Garden,’ which sounds good, but it also said the paver patio was made of stone, so the real estate agents might not have the most reliable opinions. I was going to link to the listing, but it’s already been taken down; there was a sale pending last I heard, so the house has probably sold already.

The stonework is all veneer, thin pre-made panels made of saw-cut stone. If you look closely you can see the seams. We were going to do dry-stack walls, but when I was walking around with the clients at the stoneyard, it became clear that this was the only look they liked. A bigger carbon footprint, a bit more expensive, and a much slicker look than dry-stack. Some more photos and a plan of the garden are below.

Another client choice is the synthetic lawn. I don’t have much enthusiasm for them, but I don’t really have all that much opposition either. They’ve gotten a lot better looking, but they contribute to the heat island effect and a general aesthetic of garden over-tidiness. I had forgotten this lawn was synthetic, and I have to admit I was in the garden for a little while before I remembered.

The courtyard was like an oven before the trellis, cooking every plant they tried to grow there. We don’t normally do a lot of this exterior-decorator type of design, but it turned out pretty well. I wish the dog had posed for my follow up photo, too.

There are a number of redbuds and fruit trees that are still too young to really show in photos and a veggie garden that was unplanted because the owners were moving, but, even with just three years of growth, we got some satisfying before and afters.

4 Responses to “A Redwood City Garden”

  1. June 6th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Dirty Girl Gardening says:

    that is a lovely garden… i love the tiles in laid in the grass.

  2. June 7th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Plantanista says:

    Though we don’t always have control of our clients’ choices, it’s our job to make those choices fit into a coherent narrative with integrity and beauty. You made such good work of that palette they gave you! I’m sure that the house flew off the market because you made a balanced, beautiful space.

    Also, I love that dog.

  3. June 7th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Oh wow. I really like what you did with the space, a 500% improvement. I’m usually disappointed by the immediately after photos of new landscaping projects before plants have a chance to assume their final sizes. But with three years to grow, the plants have had a chance to get to the sizes you were planning for them.

    Still, too bad about the fake grass. I looked at the first photo and that’s the first thing I noticed. At least it eliminates the workload of edging and mowing around the giant concrete steppingstones.

  4. June 10th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Arleen Webster says:

    You did a great job in creating a really beautiful and tranquil space, despite the client’s choice of synthetic grass. The evergreen and natural look of the grass certainly doesn’t detract, but it’s more the idea of it. I had heard that on a hot day, the stuff could smell like rubber, but maybe there are less pungent products on the market these days.

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