Saturday, May 9, 2015

Small & Simple Sanctuary - Santa Clara, California

This sleek Santa Clara, California garden was installed six years ago with the intention of creating an ideal drought tolerant, low water and low maintenance living space.  The design transformed a somewhat narrow, unimpressive yard into a wonderful backyard retreat.  Clean lines, low-contrast colors, modern Asian influences and useful spaces are perfectly fit for regular meals & small social events, completed by a short, meandering pathway of cut-stone pavers leading to perfectly proportioned vegetable beds. 

Back garden patio with
'Charcoal' Idaho Quartz Slate pavers
Pittosporum tenuifolium screens both fences and neighbors' back yards, gives the homeowner's privacy, and provides shade in the late afternoon.  Pittosporum tenuifolium is drought tolerant, low water (once established), non-invasive and, with some skillful regular pruning, can be maintained in a 'light & airy' form at 15 feet tall in a two foot wide bed, making it the ideal shrub for screening.
The stabilized grey decomposed granite pathway with inlaid 'Charcoal' Idaho Quartz Slate pavers allows for foot traffic and water drainage to plants nearby.

'Charcoal' Idaho Quartz Slate pavers
Pinus thundbergii 'Thunderhead' (Japanese Black Pine), Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty', Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Kohuhu', Pittosorum tobira 'Wheeler's Dwarf', and a Clementine Mandarin Orange tree share this space.
A Pinus thundbergii 'Thunderhead' (Japanese Black Pine) and other shrubs are kept small with regular once-a-year pruning.
Japanese Black Pine

Garden Lantern
Front garden patio entrance with same 'Charcoal' Idaho Quartz Slate

Front garden patio entrance

Front garden plants match back garden plants for continuity.

A small lantern statue sits in a shaded corner with Sonoma fieldstone boulders in the front garden.
The Design
BEFORE:  Uneven formed concrete patio surface and full sun exposure made this garden hot and visually unappealing. Fixed!
BEFORE:  Odd plantings, and no sense of space or privacy.

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