Before: Full of PotentialErin Grassie and Eric Lambrecht have maintained the historical style of their 1913 home in Oakland, California, while adding modern colors and accents that suit their style. However, their overgrown hillside backyard has remained untouched, and now that they're expecting their first child, they need to create a garden that they can really use. They'd like to get rid of the dilapidated remnants of the previous owner and create a space for their friends and growing family to enjoy. Landscape designers John Black, Heather Hardcastle and Damon Valentino step up to the challenge of designing the space.
Like many other homes in Oakland, Eric and Erin's house is on a hill and has a sloping backyard. Aside from a wobbly old trellis, a geranium planted in a tire, a few trees and some old rose bushes, there's nothing but weeds.
After: A Beautiful YardAfter reviewing the three plans, Erin and Eric choose John Black's design. Their multilevel garden is now a beautiful place to hang out. The top tier is the patio next to the house, next is a lawn and additional patio, and at the lowest level, a garden area with wildlife-friendly native plants.
Before: Cave-Like SpacesA new deck, part of the inside renovation, comes off the kitchen just over the back exit and has created a "cave" below. They'd like to get rid of the old pots and pans and other junk that came with the house, create a consistent floor surface and open the space up for sitting.
After: New Sitting AreaThe "cave" is now a comfortable sitting area, complete with new flooring. The old brick was removed and reused in the landings of the stairs between terraces.
After: Expanded PatioThe patio is enlarged with a retaining wall, and plantings help give the space boundary and definition.
After: Room to PlayThere's room to play, to hang out with the new baby and entertain friends. Weeds have given way to delightful additions like blueberry bushes, paperbark maples and a pleasant grassy area.