Style Council
- By Melanie Jauregui - August 2004

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Planting Ideas

     Given the clients’ desire for lots of greenery, developing the planting plan for this project was a great deal of fun. The space was large, so they wanted a scheme that would be easy to maintain. They also wanted a great deal of screening on both sides of the property, with breaks to maintain and frame portions of views in certain areas.

     For primary trees, we selected Liquidambars and Deodar cedars — trees well suited to the large lot and a beautiful combination, especially in the fall. The Liquidambars develop deep-burgundy leaves, while the cedars look

blue; when these trees mature, they should be truly spectacular. The arbor allée was planted with climbing white roses. We used lamb’s ears for their gray foliage alongside Mexican feather grass and a variety of other grasses. For the screening, we used clumping bamboos — a plant that I love for a number of reasons, a key one mentioned below. Fragrance was another item on the clients’ wish list, so we used honeysuckle and its wonderfully sweet smell to go along with the roses as well as patches of rosemary creeping thyme and sage.

     The clients also specifically requested a park-like concrete path that would move through the yard as defined conduit for moving kids through the space. The path moves in and out of garden spaces, through a “bamboo grove” and the trees, past the arbor allêe and around a grove of fruit trees at the back of the property.

     They were also very concerned about sound, which is one of the reasons we included the waterfall with the Koi pond and why we used the clumping bamboo, which make a fantastic rustling sound when the wind blows and makes the canes tap into one another.

     The clients installed a sound system, choosing rock speakers that sound terrific but that don’t harmonize with the aesthetics, so I’ve selected plants to hide them. For setting nighttime moods, we went with moonlighting in the trees to light the pathways and create interesting shadow patterns.

II: Artfully Crafted

     This project — one of my personal favorites — is an example of using a distinctive architectural style as the basis for an exterior design. The home, built in the early 1900s and renovated in the 1980s, is a beautiful, two-story cross between the signature Mission influences of the famous San Diego architect Irving Gill and the early Craftsman style that was just becoming popular at that time. The residence is located in the gorgeous (and very urban) setting of San Diego’s Mission I-lulls district.

     In visiting with the clients, I saw their fantastic collection of Arts & Crafts furniture and eclectic artwork all with a distinctly warm, feminine flair. Right away, I noticed a chair made by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the famous Arts & Crafts designer who used a graphic pattern known as the Mackintosh Rose on many of his pieces.

     When I recognized this detail, the clients were pleased and excited — and I had a strong feeling the job would be mine, As we continued our conversation, I noticed that much of the rest of their furnishings picked up the Mackintosh Rose or similar patterns, and I knew right away that I had a visual motif that I could repeat in the garden.


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This is a reprint of an article originally printed in Watershapes Magazine - Volume 6 - Number 8 - August 2004