Monday, August 1, 2016

Wong Residence in Mountain View, California


This modern, dynamic project in Mountain View, California was designed by Taproot Garden Design & Fine Gardening and skillfully installed by the team at Best Construction in the early Spring months of 2016. 

The homeowners needed a modern upgrade on their outdoor garden spaces to allow for social functions in a clean and comfortable environment.  This fully realized Master Plan is also a great example of material and texture combinations, including wood, cut-stone and concrete, all working together to create pitch-perfect atmosphere. Low water, low-maintenance and drought tolerant plantings add an organic softness to the abundance of modern lines.


The removal of dried out lawns from both the front and back yards gave way to new Connecticut Bluestone patio and pathways, concrete planter beds, dramatic Ipe-wood fencing, large raised planter boxes, and benches, metal and wire trellises, edible plantings for the family, and perennials perfectly suited for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

See the detailed Master Plan and site pictures below.





One translation of the name "Wong" in Cantonese is the color Yellow and corresponds to the element of Earth, is considered the most beautiful and prestigious color. The Chinese saying, Yellow Generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything. Yellow signifies neutrality and good luck. 
- wikipedia.com
New matching Ipe wood raised planter boxes were built on either side of the front door, giving the homeowners space to grow more berries, vegetables, perennials, and succulents.  A sleek new walkway now exists between the driveway and the front door, giving the family a shortcut when time is of the essence.
Bright perennials and fruit trees replaced hedges of unproductive square shrubs, changing their environment to a rich ecosystem for pollinators and small wildlife.
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) grows up a new metal and wire picture-frame trellis, custom built by Best Construction.
Young honeysuckle vines grow up a new metal framework trellis.
Instead of a fence, the homeowners opted for a custom metal framework trellis with honeysuckle vines which, in time, will create an area of sweet scents to mask any odors from the trash and recycling bins.
Beautiful Ipe wood fencing surrounds the deck and offers privacy from neighbors. 
A string of lights is hung above the deck for evening relaxation outdoors.
A young Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead' (English Lavender) grows next to a bench.  It's bouquet of aromatic flowers is a treat in the summer heat for those sitting next to it.
Iochroma cyanea is an evergreen perennial shrub with trumpet-shaped summer flowers that attracts birds, bees, and other pollinators.
Iochroma cyanea blooms profusely from June through August and then intermittently throughout the year.
Iochroma cyanea's tubular flowers are best viewed up close.  These are placed in concrete planter boxes on the deck, to be appreciated by humans and hummingbirds alike.
Low water and low maintenance garden
New Ipe wood fencing, raised planter boxes, and benches set the tone for this beautiful, modern back yard.
The warm brown Ipe wood contrasts with the gray components of the house and garden structures.  Where once a dried out lawn existed, a new Connecticut Bluestone patio is now in its place.
Ipe wood fencing adds a rich, warm hue and dramatic texture to the background.
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine)
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) grows up a new metal and wire trellis, custom built by Best Construction.
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) is a host plant to the orange Gulf Fritillary butterfly and caterpillars.
Going vertical in a narrow space with planter boxes saves room, especially useful during small parties and barbecues.
An abundance of herbs and peppers grow in an Ipe wood raised planter box next to the barbecue. 
The air conditioning unit is hidden by beautiful Ipe wood fencing.
The kids' playhouse sits around the corner from the main dining and entertaining areas.  Right next to their playhouse their favorite fruit (strawberries!) grows in an Ipe wood raised planter box.  This picture highlights the playful combination of materials, shapes and textures in the landscape.
Strawberries
Fragrant Lemon Verbena and strawberries grow next to the children's play area.
Entering/exiting from the gate, the brown Ipe wood and gray concrete colors are seen on all sides, balancing the gardens warm tones with cool tones.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Laurence Residence - South San Jose, California

Set among the foothills of South San Jose, California, is a garden worthy of the views of the Golden California hills.  The golden colors in the hills are reflected in the meandering tan decomposed granite pathways, mimicking a hiking path, or entrance to the foothills.  Elements in this garden include long, sweeping pathways for walking and bike riding, plenty of boulders to climb on, grass for picnics, and a hammock for those lazy days of summer.  The raised vegetable garden beds produce an abundance of vegetables, while fruit trees line the perimeter of the property.  The drought tolerant California native plants will take a few years to fill in the spaces, but will eventually create a haven for local pollinators and a private, park-like setting for the family.
Long, winding decomposed granite paths are bordered with Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders and drought tolerant California native plants.
Bird's Eye View of the garden


In only its first few months, this thriving raised vegetable garden is producing a great amount of organic vegetables for the family.
A hammock set between two Mulberry shade trees provides an escape for the happy wanderer.
California native plants grow in a natural setting between Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders. In this photo, Achillea millefolium californica, Arctostaphylos 'Dr. Hurd' Manzanita, and Myrica californica are settling in to their new environment.

A young Arctostaphylos 'Dr. Hurd' Manzanita grows by the fence and will provide a green backdrop for the white Achillea millefolium californica.
Achillea millefolium 'Terra Cotta' next to a Sonoma Fieldstone Boulder.

Meandering decomposed granite pathways match the surrounding hillsides and pull the natural golden color forward. The drought tolerant California native plants will take a few years to fill in the spaces, but will eventually create a haven for local pollinators and a private, park-like setting for the family.
A relaxed environment.
California native Achillea millefolium californica gives the garden a meadow look.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Modern Garden Design in Menlo Park, California

This garden in Menlo Park, California was installed in the early spring months of 2016.  The modern house and matching studio were clearly in need of new surroundings, and the family was in need of an outdoor space that would accentuate their home life.  Out with the old lawn and in with the new deck, hot tub, wood bench seating, concrete planters, decomposed granite patio, raised vegetable box, fruit trees, and drought tolerant shrubs and perennials.

Modern elements in the garden reflect the style of the architecture.  The young couple and their kids can now entertain friends and family in a clean, natural, and open environment.
BEFORE:  The dead lawn and unused outdoor space before the makeover.
Wood bench seating surrounds a concrete planter bed.
Plenty of bench seating for entertaining small parties or, for stargazing during the warm summer nights.
A tan decomposed granite patio replaced the brown lawn. The open layout gives enough space for inclusion of tables and a fire pit when entertaining. Wood posts in the back corner will be used to string up lights and shade sails.
A concrete raised bed doubles as seating next to the hot tub.
In its first two months since installation, this mix of California native plants, drought tolerant perennials, evergreen shrubs, and fruit trees have already flowered and grown three times their size.  A healthy dose of myccorhizae in the planting hole gave way for healthy established roots.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Shank Residence Front Yard - Almaden, San Jose, CA


Note: Click Photos to see high-detail large format images.
Review our labels and tags to see identified plants & materials.

High-IQ landscape features dynamic usage of a wide variety of California native plants, permeable surfaces, organic materials, warm & inviting redwood raised boxes, meandering decomposed granite pathways all placed in a permanently all-organic, drought tolerant, family-safe setting making this landscape a joy to view.

Below, we will take you on a trip backward through the development of this front-yard landscape project. First pictures are most recent - just after a fresh hand-weeding (wink!), and trail backwards through time all the way down to the original tired looking lawn at the end. We hope that you enjoy this lilting tour through this very special drought tolerant, all organic planned landscape. Please be sure to Visit The Back Yard!  when you are done to see more beautiful, water-wise landscape planning using California Native plants.

 
July 2016:  Epilobium 'Everett's Choice' (California Fuchsia)

July 2016:  Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass) en masse.
A beautiful specimen from Native Sons Nursery in Southern California, this young Arctostaphylos 'Dr. Hurd' Manzanita is vibrant and healthy with its bright green leaves and peeling burgundy bark.
April 2016:  In this photo are Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthum 'Shasta Sulfur' Buckwheat, Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs' (Foothill Penstemon), Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage), and Salvia sonomensis ‘Mrs. Beard’ (Mrs. Beard Creeping Sage).
April 2016:  Mimulus (top) and Zauschneria (bottom)
April 2016:  California Native Mimulus aurantiacus
April 2016:  The orange flowers of this Mimulus aurantiacus (Monkey flower) blend with the striations of orange in the rock. Also in this photo are Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs' (Foothill Penstemon) and Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland Sage).
April 2016:   In this photo are Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthum 'Shasta Sulfur' Buckwheat, Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs' (Foothill Penstemon), Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage), Salvia sonomensis ‘Mrs. Beard’ (Mrs. Beard Creeping Sage), and Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass).
April 2016:  A mix of California Native plants, fruit trees, and ornamental trees, establishing quickly after the winter rains.
April 2016
April 2016:  Blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate, peach, and lemon trees share the space with California native plants. Bees, butterflies, and birds frequent the garden and a healthy pollination of all flowers occurs naturally.
April 2016:   The delicate structure and silver leaves of this California Buckwheat makes this perennial a unique gem in the garden.
April 2016:  Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage) smells like bubble gum, feeds the hummingbirds, and spreads quickly by underground rhizomes. Grows best and is happiest in part sun/afternoon shade conditions.
April 2016: Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthum 'Shasta Sulfur' (Sulfur Buckwheat) and Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs' (Foothill Penstemon) are just a couple of the plants that line the front of the short fence.
April 2016: Among the hummingbird favorites in this garden are Mimulus aurantiacus (shown here), Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' (Howard McMinn Manzanita), Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs' (Foothill Penstemon), Salvia clevelandii ‘Celestial Blue’ (Cleveland Sage), Salvia sonomensis ‘Mrs. Beard’ (Mrs. Beard Creeping Sage), Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker’ (Bush Island Snapdragon), Epilobium (aka Zaushneria) cannum 'Everett's Choice' (California Fuchsia).
April 2016:  Six months later...
October 2015
October 2015
October 2015: Redwood, decomposed granite, Connecticut Bluestone Full Range pavers, and Sonoma Fieldstone boulders are materials that blend beautifully with the California environment.
October 2015: Decomposed granite pathway with gold fines.
October 2015: A pathway of Connecticut Bluestone Full Range pavers leads to a decomposed granite patio with redwood raised boxes.
October 2015: Redwood raised boxes will be filled with fruit-bearing plants and fragrant herbs. Edible plantings in this garden include Meyer Lemon, Mexican Key Lime, Peach, and Pomegranate.
October 2015: Redwood raised boxes on decomposed granite patio.
October 2015: Redwood raised boxes partially enclose the decomposed granite patio where direct views from the street are obscured. This front garden patio is an inviting place to chat with neighbors.
October 2015: New materials seemlessly blend with old materials in this garden. The original concrete walkway, with aggregate on one side, was retained; the colors of the aggregate perfectly match the pavers, decomposed granite, mulch, and redwood.
October 2015: Connecticut Bluestone Full Range Pavers
May 2015:  Old, tired, useless lawn.