As a designer, I don’t meet clients at every project whose taste and dreams I can “read” immediately and who are open to my ideas. For this project I developed a concept of rather unusual materials and layouts, and I was thrilled when the clients received my suggestions with lively interest and reciprocated with creativity and lots of stimulating ideas of their own.
In this relatively small garden, it seemed as though the spaces needed for dining, lounging and just hanging out would leave us with lots of paved areas with no room left for softening and interesting plants. We therefore opted for raised planters as they not only make use of the smallest spaces by “going vertical” but also create dividers and add “weight” to the landscape. Since in a small landscape they are exposed to close scrutiny, it is important that they be made from a good-looking material. We found that controlled-rusted (or “weathered”) steel would work well with the house’s architecture and the existing copper accents used as end caps on roof beams and fence posts.
Now that weathered steel was introduced in a “cubist” way, we not only used it for the planter troughs, but also for several gas-fired lights and a low-volume fountain, as well as for the edging of lawn, of the raised sitting area and of the pebble-filled French drain around the pool. And from here the other “hardscape” materials seemed to flow seamlessly: Glass tiles for the pool; bamboo for the outdoor kitchen cabinets, and synthetic fabric for the shade sails.
As we went from conceptual design to reality, creative solutions were worked out, from unexpected finger-prints on the weathered steel and the inner workings of the fountain troughs, to the finishes of concrete and stone. With the collaboration of all parties involved and the contractor’s meticulous attention to detail (Schenck Building Company in La Jolla at http://www.schenckbuildingcompany.com ) this project was well and timely executed.