Located in the East Bay foothills of Oakland, California, this 1920’s single-family backyard was ripe for a re-design effort. With the foundation of several gathering spaces existing, (i.e.-lower patio, upper lawn above a short retaining wall, a small cottage at the same level, and terraced stone walls to a small seating area at the rear) the current owner wanted to upgrade the hardscape and landscape plan, while keeping a moderately sized lawn as the central feature. But, maintaining the lawn with their dogs continual tramping through, presented a challenge. dMb design was brought in to propose an alternative to a lawn solution, and to design additional features as shown in the concept plan to the right.
Final Hardscape and Planting Plan with all new elements defined. Decomposed Granite, bender board edges, and flagstone locations all called out, along with new plant material common names and quantities.
A new idea was proposed, reducing the size of the central feature, with a mix of wild grasses extending out from the rear bed. A band of decomposed granite with strategically located flagstones, separates the planting areas and provides for a circulation path. A wine barrel serves as a focal point at one corner of the upper garden, and various accent shrubs are sprinkled throughout the terraces, providing a lush backdrop.
Photos show the installed landscape plan as designed by dMb design. The new central focal feature with it’s mix of grasses serves as an eye-catching element from any seating area of the yard. And the new decomposed granite pathway defines the edges, while also functioning as the main circulation from the patio to the upper seating areas.
CONCEPTUAL MASTER PLAN & HARDSCAPE DETAIL DESIGN
This residential property is located along the western shore of Lake Tahoe. An existing homesite, the entire 125’ x 50’ lot was in need of some creative input, and organizing features. The front facade of the home is beautiful, with an existing deck for relaxation, and a small frontyard mostly dominated by an asphaltic driveway. The side yards are wide and nondescript, and in need of structure. The backyard was the area with the most opportunities. It’s a very wide open space (65’ x 50’), with visible neighbors on both sides, and unobstructive views through massive pine trees to a preserved open space. The challenge was to organize the desired activities to easily flow from one to the other, create screening elements on both sides, and preserve the open views towards the rear of the property, while allowing for an open lawn area for informal play.
The Conceptual Master Plan. Major features proposed: The asphaltic driveway is reduced in size, with a decorative walk added, and plantings proposed to soften the appearance of the front deck. New steps are added for side yard access, with flagstones set in a gravel pathway leading to the rear yard. An entry gate opens to reveal a substantial stone patio for several activities; a central fire pit for those cool nights, a separate lounge chair space for sunny days, and a large dining table with a BBQ pit nearby. A storage shed is located at the southwest corner, accessed by the gravel pathway. A large open lawn completes the flow of uses towards the rear of the property, and plant material is clustered to define the spaces and provide screening.
The Revised Rear Yard Design- Several discussions resulted in an expanded deck, and a smaller, re-configured patio. The deck will include spaces for a BBQ, a Sauna, a gathering space, and access to a hot tub with bench seating. The patio shape allows for separate uses, with a dynamic play on directional views. And the proposed shed moves closer to the house for better functionality,while allowing for unobstructed views to the west..
Rear Deck Framing Plan- A working drawing concept plan to study, pier locations, timber sizes, and construction detailing.