Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Outdoor Makeover

 Anyone who is a follower of this blog is probably aware of how important I find outdoor space.  To me, it is as important as indoor spaces.  We knew as soon as we set out to buy a house in Southern California that we wanted something that supported outdoor living.  With our little house in Long Beach, that was going to be quite a challenge.  A 6000 square foot lot with a main house, a second ADU house and a sizable workshop/studio building.  That left a small chunk left to design and landscape.

First, we knew the space had to be optimized.  Little space could be left as unused.  In addition, spaces had to be multi-purpose and allow for indoor/outdoor living.  Second, we have tenants in the ADU house, and they need space too.  Access to the ADU house passes through our backyard space.  This needed to be done in a way as to not make it awkward for us or for the tenant since we're passing through each others areas.  Lastly, we knew that we wanted something semi low maintenance, but that also emphasized California native plantings.  With all those considerations, we put pencil to paper.

Our primary design objectives were as follows:

  • To create outside rooms
  • Create a potager/kitchen garden for food and herbs
  • Create outdoor dedicated living room and dining room spaces
  • Use organic shapes to soften the urban box within a box landscape
  • Leverage garden structures to create rooms and visual interest
  • Create a dedicated outdoor workout space that seconds as a multi-use space
  • Create hidden spaces and elements of compression to create surprise
  • Approximately 80% native plantings
During the Winter 2019/2020 season, we produced the following landscape design drawing based on the above objectives:

Top of drawing is East and Left is North.

This drawing has endured months of sketching, erasing, more sketching, and more erasing, so it isn't incredibly easy to read.  This is the second version of the drawing, because as some point we threw out the original version and started over.

Once we had finalized the major aspects of the landscape, hardscape and planting areas, we started out with the big stuff -- removing 400 sq. ft. of old concrete and a lot of drainage work.  While I have done concrete removal in the past, I knew it wasn't something I wanted to do again.  We identified contractors and moved forward with the work.

The following are photos of the landscape at the time of purchase and during/after the concrete removal project:

The following  photos represent landscaping progress made to date in 2020.  We had originally established a 3 year goal to complete this work, but the pandemic in 2020 allowed us to accelerate that and make progress faster than anticipated:

Coming up next... consultation with a local native nursery & landscape designer to create and finalize the plantings.  More details shortly in a future blog post.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Looking fabulous guys! Can't wait to visit and enjoy some of that SoCal outdoor living 🌞