Elements of Surprise

SAN MATEO | the client’s vision was to be fully immersed within a garden of varying textures and an abundance of leaf color. instead of overlooking the garden from the periphery, the client wanted to feel like she was a part of the space. under the expanse of a dominant oak, the flat terrain was mounded in certain areas to modulate the elevation with the soil itself. this created separate enclosures for meditation and reflection.

plant palette

trees | T-1 cercis canadensis ‘forest pansy’ (easter redbud)

shrubs | 1 berberis thunbergii ‘aurea nana’ (dwarf golden japanese barberry) 2 camellia japonica ‘april remembered’ (april remembered camellia) 3 fatsia japonica ‘spider’s web’ (speckled japanese aralia) 4 grevillea ‘peaches and cream’ (grevillea) 5 leucadendron salignum ‘red gem’ (red gem cone bush) 6 mahonia eurybracteata ‘soft caress’ (soft caress grape holly) 7 osmanthus heterophyllus ‘goshiki’ (goshiki false holly) 8 viburnum tinus ‘spring bouquet’ ‘compactum’ (spring bouquet viburnum)

ferns | 9 asparagus densiflorus ‘myers’ (myer’s asparagus fern) 10 blechnum spicant (deer fern) 11 dryopteris erythrosora ‘brilliance’ (japanese shield fern) 12 woodwardia fimbriata (giant chain fern)

grasses | 13 carex divulsa (european grey sedge) 14 carex testacea (orange new zealand sedge) 15 festuca idahoensis ‘siskiyou blue’ (blue hybrid fescue)

groundcover | 16 sedum mexicanum ‘lemon ball’ (lemon ball stonecrop)

material palette | la paz pebble | dark brown mulch | pea gravel (pami or salmon bay) | black basalt flamed top paver | amador granite boulder | bird bath boulder

Cool Grey Palette

BURLINGAME | this client’s vision required simplicity, organization, and seamlessness while fully embracing the concept of negative space. every element, including the spa and fire pit, was placed precisely within a boundary of dark-colored leaves. privacy from neighbors was achieved through a gapped-fence and by utilizing evergreen plants to refocus one’s attention back to the garden. within the garden, hardscape was distinguished by defining areas with low-lying plants to preserve the long views across an uncrowded, cool grey palette.

plant palette

trees | T-1 apricot armeniaca ‘blenheim’ (apricot) T-2 laurus nobilis ‘saratoga’ (saratoga sweet bay)

shrubs | 1 leucadendron salignum ‘blush’ (blush con bush) 2 leucospermum ‘scarlet ribbons’ (scarlet ribbons pincushion) 3 sarcococca confusa (fragrant sweet box) 4 sarcococca ruscifolia (fragrant sweet box)

perennial | 5 phormium ‘platt’s black’ (platt’s black new zealand flax)

grasses | 6 carex divulsa (european grey sedge) 7 chondropetalum tectorum ‘el campo’ (el campo small cape reed) 8 pennisetum massaicum (red bunny tails fountain grass)

material palette | lin creek pebbles | quartz pebbles | black basalt flamed top pavers | crushed black basalt | western red cedar | mini fir bark

Mediterranean Brushstrokes

WOODSIDE | this concept, in collaboration with Tierra Madre Fine Gardens, focused on creating a trifecta of individual zones. the mediterranean, ranch, and woodland microclimates were blended through an amalgamation of pantone pinks, purples, yellows, and whites. the client’s vision was a pollinator-friendly garden bursting with soft, delicate color. while mature trees, such as the native oak and redwoods were retained, bulky hedges were replaced with a staggered screening of native plants. by midday, the south-facing garden becomes flooded with sunlight. to provide reprieve, an informal gathering space was created under the shade of two existing pistaches while preserving views to the vineyard.

plant palette

trees | T-1 cercis canadensis ‘forest pansy’ (forest pansy eastern redbud) T-2 ficus carica ‘improved brown turkey’ (brown turkey fig) T-3 laurus nobilis ‘saratoga’ (saratoga sweet bay) T-4 pistacia chinensis (chinese pistache)

shrubs | 1 arctostaphylos manzanita ‘dr. hurd’ (dr. hurd manzanita) 2 carpenteria californica ‘elizabeth’ (elizabeth bush anemone) 3 fremontodendron ‘ken taylor’ (ken taylor hyrbid flannel bush) 4 hydrangea quercifolia ‘snow queen’ (snow queen oakleaf hydrangea) 5 myrica californica (pacific wax myrtle) 6 plumbago auriculata ‘royal cape’ (royal cape plumbago) 7 rhamnus alaternus ‘variegata’ (variegated italian buckthorn) 8 rosmarinus officinalis ‘tuscan blue’ (tuscan blue rosemary) 9 salvia leucantha ‘midnight’ (midnight mexican bush sage) 10 sarcococca ruscifolia (fragrant sweet box) 11 syringa pubescens patula ‘miss kim’ (miss kim korean lilac) 12 westringia fruticosa ‘small ball’ (small ball coast rosemary)

perennials | 13 erigeron karvinskianus (santa barbara daisy) 14 geranium ‘rozanne’ (rozanne cranesbill) 15 heuchera maxima (island alum root) 16 iris germanica ‘swingtown’ (swingtown german iris) 17 kniphofia ‘pineapple popsicle’ (pineapple popsicle dwarf poker) 18 lavandula stoechas ‘otto quast’ (otto quast spanish lavender) 19 lavandula stoechas ‘winter bee’ (winter bee spanish lavender) 20 nepeta x faassenii ‘walker’s low’ (walker’s low catmint) 21 penstemon x taffy series ‘blueberry taffy’ (blueberry taffy beard tongue) 22 perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spires’ (little spires russian sage) 23 romneya coulteri (matilija poppy) 24 salvia officinalis (garden sage, culinary sage) 25 salvia x ’ember’s wish’ (ember’s wish sage)

grasses | 26 carex divulsa (european grey sedge) 27 festuca rubra ‘patrick’s point’ (patrick’s point festuca)

cut flowers | 28 achillea ‘moonshine’ (moonshine common yarrow) 29 achillea millefolium (common yarrow) 30 bulb – narcissus mount hood (narcissus) 31 scabiosa columbaria ‘pink mist’ (pink mist pincushion flower) 32 verbena bonariensis (tall verbena, verbain)

vine | 33 akebia quinata ‘rosea’ (pink chocolate vine, fiveleaf akebia)

material palette | taffy fines decomposed granite

A Place to Play

REDWOOD CITY | the clients desired a functional space for their children to explore while adding curb appeal with low maintenance plants. the corner lot was enclosed from the street with bunched grasses, boulders, and constant-blooming shrubs. three dark purple willow peppermint trees provided fragrance as well as screening for the bedrooms. rather than flooding the space with plants, artificial turf and mounding within the existing maples and liquid ambers provided for ample space to explore and grow.

plant palette

trees | T-1 agonis flexuosa ‘after dark’ (australian willow myrtle) T-2 pistacia chinensis (chinese pistache)

shrubs | 1 acacia cognata ‘cousin itt’ (cousin itt bower wattle) 2 cotoneaster horizontalis (rock spray cotoneaster) 3 nandina domestica ‘nana purpurea’ (dwarf purple heavenly bamboo)

perennials | 4 osteospermum ‘serenity white’ (serenity white african daisy)

grasses | 5 lomandra longifolia ‘breeze’ (breeze dwarf mat rush)

material palette | 385 artificial turf with edging | sonoma fieldstone boulders

A Canvass of Seasonal Blooms

BURLINGAME | this concept, in collaboration with Tierra Madre Fine Gardens, maximized an entertaining space while preserving views from within the home through a double-glassed fireplace built into the frame of the house. the herringbone pattern climbing up the exterior wall of the fireplace was replicated in the hardscape paving. on the deck, existing wood-panel railings were replaced with cabling to further open up the views. the outdoor dining area was framed with a raised planter bed and an arbor. through this arbor, a purple maple, green fern, and granite boulder create the illusion of a still-life painting. the plant selection of seasonal blooms provides varying color throughout the entire year.

plant palette

trees | T-1 acer palmatum ’emperor one’ (emperor one japanese maple)

shrubs | 1 leucadendron ‘crown jubilee’ (crown jubilee conebush) 2 pittosporum tenuifolium ‘silver sheen’ (silver sheen kohuhu)

perennials | 3 heuchera rosada (coral bells) 4 artemisia schmidtiana (silver mound) 5 achillea millefolium (common yarrow) 6 verbena lilaciana ‘de la mina’ (purple verbena)

grasses | 7 juncus patens ‘elk blue’ (elk blue spreading rush) 8 bouteloua gracilis (blue gama grass)

ferns | 9 woodwardia fimbriate (giant chain fern)

succulents | 10 agave attenuata ‘fox tail’ (fox tail agave)

groundcover | 11 thymus serpyllum ‘elfin’ (elfin thyme)

material palette | class 2 permeable base rock | lin creek pebbles ground cover | mini brown mulch | granite bay plank paver (herringbone and piano keys) | blue stone stepper | black granite boulders