Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tweek tweek tweek.

Today has been rather frustrating.
I had set aside this day to restructure my website, only to find that the software that created the site had been erased during a recent upgrade of memory.
Crumbs. Double Crumbs.

So I used this time to rework my 'boiler plate' handout.
It still needs to be tweeked and then tweeked some more.

This is the first draft of the new rendition, - it will be printed 8.5 x 11 card stock :

From portfolioMay08.jpg

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Patio Sampler

Just a few samples of some patios that we worked on.

Big ones, small ones, intimate ones and pool side ones.
Inspiration and variety.

Vermont slate tile framed by Napa Valley cast stone. 2 levels and a cook area.
From Atop of Mt. Tamalpias

On the plaza level of a high rise in San Francisco an intimate contemplative patio
From Water fountains in the landscape

Nestled into a native Oak forest a Modernist house ,water feature and patio.
Patio made of seeded pebbles set in concrete with slate dividers.
From Water fountains in the landscape

Overlooking the ski runs at Squaw Valley , California - enjoying summer time
From Squaw Valley Lake Tahoe California

Elevated over the pool, a comfortable patio retreat
From Pools

Arizona flagstone patio with pizza oven and outdoor entertaining area in Napa Valley CA
From Outdoor Kitchens and Dining areas

Brick and bluestone patio cut into a steep hillside
From Outdoor Kitchens and Dining areas

Comfortable dual patios in amongst the redwoods
From Outdoor Kitchens and Dining areas

Hand cut stone work and beautiful woodworking makes this a lovely place to spend the day or evening. Adjacent to a swimming pool.
Photography by Lee Anne White
From Outdoor Kitchens and Dining areas

Bouquet Canyon slate patio in a compact back yard
From portfolioMay08.jpg

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Green can be done on a budget.

Going Green on a budget.

It has been a pretty good summer. Lots of projects with a wide variety of budgets, great forward thinking clients and different terroirs.

This small back yard project shown below was planned with a tight budget in mind for a duplex in the city of San Francisco.

Measuring 24 feet wide by 70 feet in length. The back yard sloped 8 feet from top to bottom.

The owners of the building wanted to create two distinct garden areas for each family living in the duplex. They also requested using green index building techniques and they had a very very conservative installation and materials budget .

From Before and After

The first order of business was to clear the site of weeds and debris that was waist high.
While doing so we discovered a series of concrete walls and flooring in various states of erosion .
Landscape archaeology at its funnest.
Next came out my transit and laser so that I could layout the exact locations and elevations of the walls that were going to be salvaged.

From Before and After Projects

To create two separate flat outdoor spaces for the two homeowners a few retaining walls were in order to tame the hillside. We built these out of pressure treated wood.
From Before and After

The top level 12’-6” x 18’-0” will have a surface of artificial turf. This will provide a nice green surface for the kids to play on yet will not require water or mowing to maintain its practicality.

The lower level 16 x14 utilizes permeable pavers as a surface.

From Before and After

We reused, cleaned and resurfaced the existing concrete retaining walls at the stairway.
In some cases we had to cut the concrete and or add a few inches here and there to level and even them out. They were resurfaced with a clean coat of stucco.
The stair treads are permeable pavers and the infill will be stablized decomposed granite.

The planting is drought tolerant for the most part using mostly succulents, a privacy hedge of Pittosporum silver sheen , a couple of Queen palms and a few flowering shrubs such as Tibouchinia and Brugmansia. With less than 250 gallons p/m calculated for the garden , we were able to install only one valve for the entire project.

Mulch, the decomposed granite infill, and the artificial turf will be installed next week.

The whole project has taken about 3 weeks to install and about 20 K in materials and labor.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Preliminary Design Process - the sketches

After an in depth analysis of the core values, lifestyle, style and desires of the client's project a detailed site analysis is taken.
Equipt with this information a series of preliminary design concepts are created to explore the wide variety of hard and soft materials, textures, emotions and building techniques specific to the clients requirements.

Below is a recent example of 4 different concept sketches that were provided to a client to address the challenge of architectural side wall cladding and planting.

Scheme A - Explore the use of stone strip cladding in a rough basket weave pattern
From sketches

From sketches

Scheme B -Explores the use of woven core ten metal steel cladding
From sketches

From sketches

Scheme C - explore the use of core ten steel panels with relief cut outs and night time back lighting
From sketches

From sketches

Scheme D - explores the use of local Sonoma field stone cladding
From sketches

From sketches

Of course there is a lot more information about the planting, lighting, stonework and focal accroutrements assigned to each scheme, but I’ll save that for another post.

The existing site :
From sketches

Monday, September 6, 2010


Coming to a close, yet not quite accessorized , the Marin hillside pool and deck project
moves ever closer to its end.

Team :
Architecture- Liam O’Flaherty
Engineering - Det Doring
Landscape Exterior Design - Michelle Derviss
Fine Carpentry - Dan Young Construction
Pool Construction - Adams Pool
Masonry - Chavez Landscape

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

From Smith Project

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Storm Clouds and Blue Skies.

Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis 'Storm Cloud', that is.

This hybrid will grow in sun or part shade, with moderate water. Hardy to 20-25 degrees F.
Large umbels of deep blue flowers will rise far above the foliage on 3-4 foot tall blackish stems in summer

Landscape design by Derviss Design
From California Gardening

From California Gardening

Around the corner the pool:
From Pools