Sunday, September 23, 2007

An abbreviated post

Upcoming Garden Show.

An abbreviated post.

The site plan below and the accompanying sketch are revived design layouts for the upcoming 2008 San Francisco Garden show.

More info to follow as things get buttoned up.

Site Plan - 1/2 inch scale

Perspective sketch - no particular scale

Saturday, September 22, 2007

west coast green expo

The West Coast Green expo held in the heart of down town San Francisco was an exceptional treat for all who attended.
Tons and tons of useful ‘green’ information and a wide variety of sustainable building materials and resources were on display.

I was particularly excited by a prefabricated house and surrounding garden that was set up outside the Bill Graham auditorium on the city hall concourse.

The energy efficient modular house was designed by Michelle Kaufmann and the gardens were designed by Nicholas Thayer of Late Afternoon Garden Design .

Below are some photographs taken of the “Lotus” house and gardens.

A recycled boardwalk zigzags through a sunken California native sedge mini meadow.
This bio swale acts a sponge to absorb rain ( when it does rain ) and recharges the native aquifer.

This photo shows the front door and an ingenious light fixture that shines both upward and downward when turned on. -- I must get one for my own house !

I did take a few photos of the interior of the house , but for sake of this “garden” blog, I am going to restrain myself from posting them and keep to the subject of the garden and garden architecture.
But ......
There was one element within the house that captivated my interest, and that was the Electronic House Controller.
I punched in a couple of easy commands and found that the automatic watering system was connected to this controller . .. pretty cool, though I don’t know how this might work if you have a maintenance gardener who visits your yard monthly and needs to fiddle with your irrigation controller and you are not home to let him/ her inside the house.
As a landscape designer I like to install all our irrigation controller outside for ease of maintenance ( and sense of personal privacy)

At the front of the garden was a rain water pond catchment system. It stores water later for use on the ‘green roof’, which was planted with a wild grass and meadow mix.

A detail shot of the glass hockey pucks - a ‘aesthetic design augment’.

As you left the master bedroom ( the only bedroom ) one came upon a secluded deck with two stylized Andirondack chairs from the retail shop of Room and Board.
They are made from recycled plastic and were surrounded by an edible bamboo hedge.

I was EXTREMELY happy to see an outdoor tub by Concreteworks included in the Eco House design.
I am planning to do the 2008 Garden Show in San Francisco and also have an outdoor tub by Concreteworks set into my garden vignette.

There were also several containers set into the landscape by Concreteworks.
I too will be using these and other containers of theirs in my upcoming display garden.

It was nice to see the scale of the tub and the containers in an outdoor setting.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Squaw Valley Mountain Retreat

Squaw Valley Mountain Retreat
photos taken Sept. 2007

During the summer and fall of 2006 we were happily working on a project in Squaw Valley California.
Squaw Valley is the former location for the 1950’s Winter Olympics and is located very close to Lake Tahoe.

This past weekend I went up to Squaw and visited our project.
Below are some photos :

This shot was taken at night time .
The propane fired Fire Ring kept us toasty warm while the privacy screen shielded us from the neighboring house.

A view of the outdoor terrace : Sierra granite stone sitting ring, Quartz flat stone terrace,
Sierra stone fountain hand carved by Miguel Chavez and the metal privacy screen.

Another view showing the adjacent bar and kitchen

This is the view that one has overlooking the ski runs of Squaw Valley

The adjacent outdoor bar and kitchen

A detail of the stone work in the sitting ring

A close up shot of the stone fountain.

The stone stair case leading down to the lawn area.

In the sentence above I mentioned that the stair case leads down to the "lawn" area.
Well it is a 'lawn', except that it is an artificial one .
We choose an artificial lawn for a variety of reasons, but primarily it was chosen for its lack of maintenance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bloom dazes - Warm September 2007


I will be on holiday for our traditional Bloom Day event so I am posting a few days early.

On this warm September evening there is still a lot of plants blooming in my garden despite the fact that it is a garden designed with foliage in mind and not flower power.

Many of the succulents are in bloom as well as Tibouchinas, Abutilons, Iochromas, Daturas, Brugmansias , Passifloras, Bougainvillaea and Ginger's.

Here are a few samplings from my Northern California garden.

Bulbinella - a vivacious succulent - If you are a gardener and want job security, then plant this plant !

A Datura juxtaposed against a Canna Pretoria leaf

Bromeliads are also showing a lot of color


A white Passiflora - there are also several ripe fruits on the vine too.

The last couple of days I have spent scoping out several garden nurseries.
I am ramping up for a planting project and I like to go to the nurseries before I design the planting plan so that I know what is in stock .
I also enjoy the inspiration too.

This photo below was taken at Cottage Garden Growers in Petaluma.
It is a retail nursery but provides a small discount to professionals in the trade.
I like this nursery a lot because it is so beautifully designed and laid out.
I also like and admire the owners who have worked their butts off to get the nursery where it is today.

The succulent area

One of the nursery owners has a penchant for succulents and is extremely creative.
Here he has taken a bird bath and has planted it with succulents.

And another one

There is a beautifully designed raised bed adjacent to the succulent area in the nursery that has a very cool underwater garden scene.
It is planted with succulents, restios, native flowers , perennials and drought tolerant shrubs.
Woven into the tapestry of foliage a school of core ten metal fish swim.

The two photographs below show my most frequented wholesale nursery, Landscapes Unlimited in Petaluma CA.
I have been purchasing plants from this nursery for about 20 years and have always had professional friendly service .
The staff is exceptionally caring and goes the extra mile in assiting landscapers by brokering in plants that they do not grow themselves.
This view below shows one tiny section of the nursery - the one gallon size perennial section

This nursery is so big that you drive your car through the isles when pulling your own plants.
As mentioned above, it is a wholesale nursery, and a strict one at that. If you do not have your C-27 license or landscape architectural license you cannot purchase from this nursery.

Happy Bloom days all !

Monday, September 10, 2007

Carmel Valley Project

Several years ago, three to be exact, I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with a couple who were planning their retirement dream home in Carmel Valley CA.

When they had contacted me they had just purchased their empty lot and were working with a young and fairly inexperienced architectural firm in assisting them in the design of their new home.

It is usually very rare that clients have the foresight to hire a landscape architect during the architectural planning stage but these particular clients had vision and wanted to make sure the house was sited perfectly into their wooded lot.

I worked with the team ( clients, architects, engineers and building contractor ) to site the house on the lot, develop the entry road way, site the other out buildings and design the landscape along with the drainage, erosion , lighting and irrigation system.

During the design process communication between the architects and the owners broke down so I and the very competent building contractor assisted the clients in completing the exterior design and construction details on the house.

I visited the project this past weekend and took a few photographs .

This photo below shows the entry gates to the long undulating driveway.
Note the “faux rock” in the foreground of the photo.
It covers the large back flow prevention valve that control the city water that flows to the house.

The driveway meanders through a dense native oak forest.
About 500 feet into the driveway you pass the pump house.
We were able to install a well for the landscape water. It sits to the left of the pump house.

The front entry and front facade of the house .

A closer view of the front .
Acer palmatum Bloodgood maple, Dicksonia antartica ferns, Azara and Calistoma ‘little john’, in the foreground plant scape.

The two Azara trees need to be severely pruned back.
I took this photo so that I could print it out for the gardener and mark the photograph up with red ink where I feel the branches should be cut back.

A side view of the entry arbor, columns and stone plinths.
The columns are cast concrete from Napa Valley Cast Stone. The stone is quarried from the Santa Rita Carmel quarry .

Standing up at the front door and looking out across the oak forest through the two arbor columns.
The metal work was designed by me and hand forged by Aliano metalsmiths in Salina CA.

A view of the front entry.
I was standing on the kitchen dining terrace wall when I took this pix.

A detail shot of Aliano irons craftsmanship on the front entry railings.
I LOVED designing these !

On the right hand side of the house is the kitchen terrace.
It is flanked by an Arbutus marina on the right hand side of the entry steps and on the left hand side are a couple of Japanese maples, Choysia ternata, Callistoma, Iris and true geranium .

This is a detail shot of the stone work . This is the wall below the kitchen terrace.

On the opposite side of the house, the left side, is the living room terrace.
Check out the surface stone. It is a travertine imported from Italy. It is laid in an ashlar pattern and compliments the Santa Rita quarry stone nicely and the buff colored stucco.

A detail shot of the wall below the living room terrace that was pictured above.

The house is designed in quandrants and is bisected by a long corridor down the central axis of the house.
On direct axis with the front door , down the long corridor , is a big plate glass window that looks directly on this built in fountain.
In this photo the fountain spouts are not turned on ( I did not have access to the inside switch ).
The tile that is used to face the fountain is also tavertine from Italy. I resourced it from my favorite tile store in San Rafael , “ Italics”.

There is also a guest house on the grounds.
This photo show the back yard terrace off of the guest house.
It has a great view of the oak forest.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tripping around Bali - October 2006 adventure

Some things take a while.
This is one of those ‘things’ that I have wanted to do for awhile but just had not found the time.
The time has been found and I’m posting some photos of a trip that I took with The Hortisexuals to Bali in October of 2006.

When we arrived at the Denpasar Airport we were met by a local guide named Dana Lee.
Dana and our fearless leader, Robin Parer arranged and organized our hotels and transportation.

We stayed at the historic and beautiful Tandjung Sari beach side hotel while in Sanur.

In the photo below is Josh and Tom seated under a bale overlooking the Tandjung Sari pool

The hotel bungalows are behind the pool and directly infront of the pool is the beach.

The beach infront of the Tandjung Sari hotel

My bungalow had a big glass window with a gigantic terrazzo tub set into the corner. It over looked a private courtyard that had a cool outdoor shower and water feature.
I am a sucker for beautifully designed vacation resorts !

I also had a private front entry courtyard. In it was my very own bale. ( a covered pergola)

The first evening ( and every evening there after ) we partied on the beach or some other cool location either in town or at the resorts or villas.

The first day we visited private beach side gardens in Sanur and a few resort gardens.
Most everybody on the trip were landscape designers so we all share in our appreciation for fine resort design and innovative garden horticulture.

This was a private garden that we visited and its entrance doorway.

Talk to the hand !

A vine growing against a wall.

Another private garden and its doorway entrance.

The red clay bricks that are commonly seen throughout Bali have different proportions than the common American brick.
To see this brick paired up with their locally carved stone is a thing of beauty.

In this photo we are exiting one garden room and entering another.
To give this entry way scale, the man in the photo, Davis , is about 6’-2” tall.

Another very cool entry way. ... you don’t see this very much in Kansas.

Inside the courtyard that Davis had just left

Also inside this private garden

Still the same garden

Outside the compound , along the path, was another home and garden being built.
I snuck this photo of their swimming pool being built.

And the stairway leading to their front door

As mentioned prior, we visited quite a lot of resort gardens designed by various Internationally known landscape architects.
This is the entrance to Novatel Benoa Resort designed by Bill Bensley.

There are plenty of water fountains throughout the resort grounds

Along the path to the pools was this placement of empty containers.

This is a detail shot taken of their sidewalks in the resort.

One of the pools. ( There are several )
This one has a Yucatan Mayan feel.

I just fell over laughing at the spitting baby heads !
Love the water lounge chairs though.
I just might have to design a few of these into our next pool project.

Another pool on the grounds - love the mosaic leaf design

The hotel Novatel Benoa has many individual bungalows.
We were given the opportunity to visit one of the private bungalows on the grounds.
This one has its own private swimming pool within the walled compound.

Note the hand carved stone wall

Inside the bungalow was a lovely bedroom with a back lit piece of wall art.

The following day we visited more private and public gardens. Many had the most wonderful hand carved creatures.
I LOVE this guy in the photo below !
He should be the poster boy for Altoids Breath Mints or Larry Flints Hustler.

This guy could be the spokesman for 1-800 - DENTIST.

Frogs , Frogs, Frogs are everywhere in Bali.

Some spit while others clap and still others just welcome you.

Along our walk we came across this bougainvillea covered pergola.

And this very interesting bamboo covered walkway.

Speaking of bamboo, we visited the International Bamboo Foundation run by Linda Garland.
This was one of the structures that was being built.

Another private residential garden that was opened to us.
I like the lined pathway leading to the colorful hand carved doors.

Many , if not all of our hosts offered us the opportunity to tour inside of their homes as well.
Here is a colorful bathroom and shower area.

This private estate was superbly designed .
This pool has given me much inspiration.
I am totally wowed by the way it integrates the shade structure over the pool and how the lounge area expands into the pool by providing a wading shelf or lounging shelf under the shade structure.
This was one , if not “the one”, of my favorite pool designs.

This is excellent pool scaping and landscape architectural design!

The pool has a negative edge, ( which is what Josh is examining )
It overlooks the Bali sea beyond.

Another private estate, also with a negative edge pool.... and a big honken rock right in the middle !
The pool is tiled with 12x12 slate tiles.
The host had a table set up and was serving ginger martinis and fresh squeezed lime juice!

Set below the adjacent deck were these water catchment buckets.

Well after having a couple of ginger martinis I needed to visit the ladies room.
While sitting on the terrazzo toilet bowl this was the view I had to comtemplate over.
..... I want this view from my toilet bowl !

And of course one should always wash their hands upon leaving la bain.
Outside sink.

This property over looked a fertile terraced rice growing valley.
Along one of the terraces leading down to the valley floor was a wall covered with ficus pumila and three inset Buddhas.

The following day of our Bali Bonanza found us trekking to garden retail nurseries, botanical gardens and stone carving yards and other handi-craft shops.

This shot was taken at one of the nurseries we visited.
Check out those knobs on that palm.

Bromeliads are a commonly found plant.
I loved this one for its cool variegation and large flower.

Along with bromeliads, there are a lot of epiphytes.

I bought 2 garden lanterns. This single decker and a triple decker

How about a break in our shopping day to visit one more resort garden.
This is the famous Amandari Hotel .
The negative edge pool overlooks a steeply terraced rice paddy valley below.

The pool is tiled with slate tiles.

Along one of the paths I took this photo of a window to one of the private bungalows.

And a stone wall carving.

During the evening ( several evenings actually ) we were treated to traditional Balinese dancing , music performances and shadow puppet shows.

Back on the horticultural trail again.
Here we visited a spectacular estate with a beautiful lotus pond.

An outside sitting area on the grounds.

A doorway entrance with sculpture niche

We were given the rare opportunity to visit the private home and garden of jewlery designer John Hardy.
He was not available for the day but his wife gave us a open tour of the house and grounds.
This pagoda is one of the buildings on their property.

Their pool

A still water feature on the grounds.

We also visited the Hardy’s Jewlery showroom and gallery.
It is a wildly cool piece of architecture.

We also visited the home and gallery of another jeweller named Jean-Francois Fichot.
Jean-Francois was featured in the June or July issue of Garden Design Magazine .
This Travelers Palm is huge and in beautiful shape. It grows infront of one of the on site bungalows.

A small altar set up ( I think this photo is also in Garden Design Mag )

While traveling with The Hortisexuals while in Ubud I stayed at the Alam Jiwa hotel.
This was my view from my balcony.

In the Arts and Crafts town of Ubud is a famous temple known as The Lotus Temple

After the tour was over I stayed in Bali an additional 8 days.
I scored a spectacular bungalow directly adjacent to the Lotus Temple.
This was my view every morning over coffee .
There were also musical and dance performances playing here every other night.
I could watch everything from my second story balcony overlooking the lotus pond and performance stage.

The tour is not over yet.
We are still visiting private gardens all over the island.

Love Shack

We visited a lot of Artist gardens.
This is the garden of artist Nadya.
She exports finely designed textiles and has a penchant for mosaic artwork at her home.

The back side of a wall at her house.

One of the bathrooms at her house

We visited 2 botanical gardens on the island.
This is a water feature at one of them

A stepping stone mosaic path inside the botanical garden.

At one of the botanical gardens we came across a GIGANTIC stand of bamboo.
In this picture Linda is wearing a bamboo sheaf on her head.

Raul is outfitted with bamboo armor. - Check out the size of this bamboo sheaf !

So like I said, we visited many private artist’s homes.
This couple did outrageously cool tile mosaic work.

They had whole vignettes of mosiac work.

I contemplated buying one of these poppy lamps.

Linda, ... just can’t keep your hands off of those ladies !

Another one I could of purchased but passed up.

The tour was evenly designed to take in horticulture, art, sculpture, resort planning and local ecology.
We took a very informative rice walk with a very personable local naturalist named Darta.
Here are some pix’s of our rice walk outside of Ubud.

On the rice walk we passed several huts. In one of the huts was a stone carving shop.
Check out the sculptors carving tool.

Back in the town of Ubud we visited another temple.

The altar offerings were beautiful

Leaving the temple

Back on the garden trail.
Here we find ourselves in the middle of a luscious private garden.

Man, did I want to take a dip ! - It was pretty hot on this day .

So hot and sunny it was not really great photography weather. ( washed out by too much sun )

I’m dying to go swimming

Beyond the pool was this incredible view.
Check out the scale of this in comparison to Richard next to the water bowl.

On another day we visited this incredible hillside and valley , It is located just outside of Ubud.

Traversing down the valley, this is what you are treated to at the bottom.
A spectacular pool

This valley also has a natural warm springs and a rushing river that many were riding down in rafts.
Next time I visit Bali I would like to go rafting down this river.
Here is a picture of the warm springs rill

Of course we had to go to MECCA. By mecca I mean that we had to visit the infamous landscape architect Made Wijaya.
He arranged for us to not only visit many of the gardens that he designed on Bali but also opened his home and studio to us.
He was one of the high lights of the trip for me. This guy is a real colorful character !!!!!
It was no surprise to see that he had set up a martini bar for us upon arrival.
He also gave us a great slide show in his upstair gallery.

The picture below shows Made’s pool . Made is on the left hand side of the pool in the black shirt and green pants.

A detail of Made Wijaya’s home pool.

Beautiful lush and lusty planting around the pool.

I LOVE this vine ! - Anyone know the name of it ?

An outer section within the Wijaya compound

After the official tour was over with The Hortisexuals I stayed on the island another week.
Several other Hortisexuals also extended their stay and 9 of us chipped in together and rented a villa in the town of Ubud.
This was our pool for several days

The path that lead into the compound.
The 2 bedroom bungalow that I shared with Randi, Charles and Glenn is located just beyond the lily pond in the photo below
Check out the very cool paving pattern.

A detail shot of the lotus pond

Well that is about it for now.
Hope that you enjoyed seeing some of the sights of Bali .