Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shirley Watts - Composition in Blue

Landscape artist Shirley Watts had two gardens open to the public in conjunction with the AIA on Sunday September 27, 2009.

The first garden that we were visually treated to was a traditional sized city back yard, but there was nothing traditional about it.

By artfully organizing the spatial layout of the small back yard she created a series of rooms that enhanced the over all size and emotional response of the garden.


As one enters the back yard the depth of the garden and what awaits the visitor is not immediate apparent.

This keen slight of hand is extremely clever in setting up an element of delightful discovery.

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


The visitors eye is at once excited.

All at once you catch a glimpse of something that is brilliant blue in the back ground, then you notice the fountain to your immediate left.

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


As you walk towards the fountain you notice that the light crunch below your feet has a smooth feel to it. Upon closer inspection you see that the surface is composed of tumbled recycled pottery shards.

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


As you continue along your path of discovery , you can’t help being drawn into the blue cube that sits in the middle of the garden . It’s a wind and privacy shelter constructed out of aluminium, twin wall poly carbonate and blue plexiglas.

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


Working your way around the garden other innovative elements pique your senses such as the edges of the stacked recycled concrete retaining walls that were finely saw cut so that the cross section of the exposed aggregate gives the look of terrazzo.

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM


In the following days I’ll post photos and commentary on the second garden we visited designed by Shirley Watts as well as the two gardens that were designed by Topher Delaney.

I should mention that there was a third designer who was on the AIA tour, Cevan Forristt. Unfortunately I did not take many photos of this garden ( the designer in the past has requested that photos not be taken of his work ) but if you are familiar with Cevans work you would have seen all the same elements that he has used for the last several years in his design work . The big cast concrete bamboo poles were present as well as many of his other trademark elements such as the big rectangle concrete fish pond and the asian doors and stone stepping stones. All done very nicely.

9 comments:

Delphine said...

Thank you ! i love Shirley Watt's work.

Tara Dillard said...

Great inspiration. Would love to see the interior of the home & how home/garden relate. The flow, axis, Vanishing Threshold.

Curious about the wood fence behind the water feature. A tiny amount of bleaching would slightly echo the color of the stone.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

phrago said...

Hey, I wasn't sure about this garden at first which is a good sign for me. If I like something right away, I tend to bore of it quickly.
I really like the use of the concrete stacked to make steps and planters. What was the pottery shards like to walk on, they look a bit slippery, very pretty though. Is this material readily available in Calif? How would you clean leaf litter out of it?
The blue walls are very cool. How did she get the (looks like roses) plants to stay put between the blue plastic and the lexan. I think the one thing I don't like about this garden is the Bird of Paradise planted next to the pond. Its going to get so large there that I think the scale will be off set. Nice garden! Thanks for the pics... Phrago

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Hello partners in dirt and grime, fun and flora.

Tara I don't know if Shirley could have any influence over the fence. It's one of those common neighbor fences and some people get very particular about what you can and cannot do to them even when it's not on their side. But who knows !?

Phrago my old friend,
The pottery shards were not slippery at all and the sound that was made underfoot was a mellow crunching sound.
This tumbled pottery mulch is readily available at a local S.F. recycling resource center. They also recycle and tumbled glass mulch .
It is cleaned by using a small electric blower.

The black silk roses were inserted between the layers of plexiglas and polycarbonate.
I don't know if a dab of glue was used to keep them in place or if they are held in place from the pressure between the two panels (?)

This is really a 'viewing' garden from the 2 story house. I was told the owners are not avid gardeners and that the garden is more of a visual pleasure than an interactive experience.

how it grows said...

Thanks for the tour!

danger garden said...

Inspiring! And great point that you made about the entrance not giving it all away.

phrago said...

Hey Michelle, I find it interesting that your comments about this garden focus on the hardscape and not the plantings. Looking at this garden magnified, I can see that the plant selection is very minimal, Bamboo predominates, boxwood as a small hedge, I am not sure what all the other plant selections are, but it looks as though there may only be five other species used in mass, just one or two accents plants. Of course I cant see the whole garden, but I find it interesting that the plant palate is so minimalistic... Nice irragation too... Phrago

phrago said...

Hey Michelle, I find it interesting that your comments about this garden focus on the hardscape and not the plantings. Looking at this garden magnified, I can see that the plant selection is very minimal, Bamboo predominates, boxwood as a small hedge, I am not sure what all the other plant selections are, but it looks as though there may only be five other species used in mass, just one or two accents plants. Of course I cant see the whole garden, but I find it interesting that the plant palate is so minimalistic... Nice irragation too... Phrago

Susan aka Miss R said...

Once again you've introduced me to something new. I love the blue polycarbonate enclosure.