This project offered many exciting design opportunities. The residence was merely framed and rough in completed when I first visited the approximately 2 acre site. The owners had many design needs- driveways, walkways and patios, jet fountain, swimming pool and spa, freestanding patio cover, regulation size basketball court, landscape lighting, pots, and plant and lawn design. The property was graded from east to west for surface drainage, which offered great opportunities to incorporate elevation changes both with soil and masonry.

The driveways, walks and patios were all installed using concrete pavers- a beautiful, yet underused material in the central valley. The Corinthian style pool and spa are strategically centered on the central section of the residence. Due to the strong grade in the backyard, seat wall height retaining walls were designed around the perimeter of the pool and spa. These walls add both interest and seating, accommodating large gatherings.

The jet fountain in the center of the circular driveway is an outstanding feature, both by day and night, where a color wheel illuminates the jets of water.

The sod and boulder design had been completed upon my first visit to this foothill site. The owners were looking for colorful plant material to add interest, especially during the warm season when the foothill grasses turn blonde for the year. The Tolleson’s Blue Weeping Juniper irregular and freeform growth habit breaks the straight line of the garage wall. Low growing Verbena and Artemisia add color without obscuring the boulders. A pot near the front door softens a hard corner and adds color.

The owners of this property had recently completed a major remodel on the residence and were ready to move on to the landscape. They had added several outdoor seating areas as a component of the remodel. The owners wanted to incorporate a natural style water feature and colorful plants that attracted butterflies and hummingbirds. The water feature included a waterfall with a long, meandering streambed that skirted the outdoor seating areas. Plants such as Lavender, Coreopsis, Verbena, Society Garlic, Butterfly Bush and Agapanthus were used throughout. I saw more Swallowtail Butterflies at this site than I’ve ever seen in one location, the day these photos were taken.

The owner needed a plant design for the new custom home his family had recently completed. The hardscape, large trees and sod had been installed. During our nursery visit, we discovered that the owners preferred jewel tones to pastels for flowering interest. The tree for the raised bed was a decision that involved a lot of research by the husband. He visited many sites and nurseries looking at options and specimens locally available. I had personal experience with the Dynamite Crape Myrtle and suggested the multi trunked version as an interesting focal point. Red and pink Flower Carpet Roses, Coreopsis and Crape Myrtle add lots of color during the warm season.

This project site was particularly large and the owners opted to design it in phases for manageability of installation. The chateau style boxwood lined rose garden was part of phase one. I integrated a custom made dome to emphasize the seating area and add elevation for interest. Retaining walls were installed to terrace the site which had potential for elevation changes. The owners have a love of cooking, so a kitchen garden was added at the second elevation to the west of the rose garden, including Bay Laurel trees for height and culinary use. Potted citrus were included along the driveway. The red pots compliment the color of the home and contrast well with the gold decomposed granite and retaining walls. A wrought iron arch frames one of the entrances to the kitchen garden and repeats the use of iron in the design.

The east side of the residence also offered opportunities for retaining walls due to the grade. Two terraces contained by stackable block were integrated, in addition to a courtyard complete with unit pavers and courtyard wall. The terraced patios are a combination of concrete at the steps and unit pavers for the level surfaces. Low voltage louvered lights in a copper finish were installed in the risers of the steps. Pots on the terraced patios soften the walls and add color.

I was first asked by the owners of this property to add annual color throughout for the warm season. I found the flowerbeds too large for just annual color, and the beds were incomplete. All of the layers were in the background of the beds, with no woody shrubs or perennials to lead the eye forward. I suggested adding these layers, eliminating the long term expense of so much annual color. I also found the soil to be in very poor health, with large fissures throughout, and acid loving plants failing due to serious soil compaction issues and no fertilization schedule. Prior to any planting, we rototilled Amend & pelletized Gypsum throughout all beds, fertilized acid loving plants with a treatment of acid fertilizer, sulfur, and iron, and added all purpose fertilizer to all the other existing plants. Within 4 weeks, the plants responded by pushing new growth, flowers, and greening. We added Foxtail Ferns, Clivias, Hydrangeas, Azaleas, Autumn Ferns, Peonies, Geraniums, Impatiens, Begonias, and Coleus. I also added plants to existing pots throughout.

Crafted by GW Studio
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1506 North Farris Avenue • Fresno, Ca 93728