Where Africa Meets Andalusia
APLD Merit Award for Residential Design (2013)
This is the kind of exterior/landscape design project that truly inspires!
The client, a well-traveled couple, had just purchased their first home in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles and began doing the renovations on their own. Once they removed the overgrown landscaping and saw it was open to the neighborhood, they realized this job was proving to be more than they could handle alone.
After our meeting, it was clear that they desired a real Garden of Eden, with color, texture, flowers, fruit, areas in which to lounge around in comfort and privacy, and an overall sense of the sacred. This design would aim to capture the leisure and romance of a sophisticated traveler in Africa.
Reflecting the intensity of Yves St. Laurent lipsticks, red, magenta, and fuchsia were juxtaposed against a backdrop of sapphire-blue, white plaster, black lava rock and green upholstery, raw wood, and bronze.
Sacred geometry and tribal motifs were employed to surround the property in a protective cocoon and cast a spell of well-being. The design is asymmetrical and uses curvilinear lines exclusively to express itself.
In plan view, a serpent appears to wind through the property and amongst the various geometric-shaped elements, like a silk thread though beads: between the grasses and star-shaped fountain, around the tree, along the seating area, and finally coiling around the fire pit.
To lend an additional air of foreign mystique, a fragrant white garden leads to an antique Berber door, opening to a raised pebbled Shaman circle.
Securing the property perimeter, we installed walls, fencing, and trellises and painted them a deep sapphire-blue to provide background for a variety of brilliant-colored flowering vines that “paper” the walls. These espaliered vines serve as focal points, adding depth of field and drama—as well as muffling sound from the “outside world.”
Finally, we added a shaded dining terrace, where an iron structure creates an umbrella form for the existing pink bougainvillea. Water features include an outdoor shower, vintage bathtub, and fountain.
The side drive was planted with a variety of medicinal herbs and edibles, including thornless blackberries, roses, and fig and lemon trees.
The front yard was transformed into a secluded grassy meadow with dry creek, to which the drainage from the back can flow. Native ceanothus and sages, along with a pomegranate and damask roses, grow together with little irrigation.
The project was an APLD Merit Award winner for Residential Design in May 2013 (read the article here).
(NOTE: All work was performed by licensed landscape contractors.)