Designer Margie Grace created this stunning garden area after a garage renovation consumed the home's front yard, leaving a less-than-desirable mark on the entrance.
The motor court’s walls were draped with vines and big pots were arranged with sculptural plantings. Huge olive trees soften the bright motor court without eliminating any parking space.
Although the client’s wish list was small, a site walk revealed a lot of needs. Access to the front door had been cut off by construction--a clear approach to the entry was needed. The gate to a private walled side patio adjacent to the parking area seemed the most likely place to find the front door--access to this area needed to be restricted without making the space dark and stale. The only approach to the house was through the parking area, so it needed to be beautified!
The panoramic view of the mountains from the front yard was stunning – what was needed was a sitting area from which to enjoy it. But the yard sloped too violently for this. Some grading to level the area was needed. The view from the house was beautiful, except for the parking area – screening was needed. The existing veranda fought with the house. It needed something to wed it to the structure. The glare and heat off the paving was harsh. This needed to be remediated. Finally, the client was a collector. There was fabulous statuary, furniture, and pottery to pull from, but it was displayed haphazardly--appropriate presentation and editing was needed.
We were able to execute the design we planned for, but the end result transformed the space even more than we expected. A bubbling water element and an exotic gateway create a mood for entering that house, where you feel miles away from the road and driveway surrounding the garden.
We were surprised to find how much wildlife re-entered the garden once it was separated from the parking. We have found quail nests, butterflies, doves and squirrels love the new habitat. It was a great little reminder to plant for the pollinators and provide a healthy habitat within our developed surroundings.
Varied sizes of smooth pebbles create a finished, artistic element to the edges of the planting beds. Our method is to use several bags of each size; start with the largest in distinct piles and add each consecutive size to mimic a natural creek bed. Additionally, Margie spends extra time at the end of each project selecting plants, sculptures and pottery to tie the whole design together.