Landscape design is an extremely satisfying career path if you are the type of person that likes to come up with a complex idea and see it through into a physical creation. As a very creative person constantly brainstorming ideas, having the chance to work with open minded couples is a dream come true. I met Howard and Jenni at my cousin’s birthday party and we immediately started talking about traveling and stories of recent vacations. When I first visited their home I instantly imagined transforming their large, impersonal building into a colorful, exotic retreat. Now that their exterior transformation is complete, the homeowners spend most of their time at home enjoying the outdoor spaces; so much that Howard says Jenni loves being at home so much that she has lost most of her desire to travel. I hope this series of before and after photos of outdoor spaces inspires you to transform some of your spaces, and create an outdoor environment you look forward coming home to.
When you create a peaceful entry garden you can leave your worries at the gate and your home becomes your sanctuary from the crazy world we live in. For this entryway we brought in a large bronze colored urn, turned into a recirculating water feature, which creates a soothing sound that also attracts many birds. The color of the urn ties in with the bronze pendant lights and large pots on the gate pillars (not in the photo). We used cement tiles from Morocco with a pattern that creates a sense of movement and energy, leading you to a custom wooden entry door. Lush looking, yet drought tolerant, a ground cover called Dymondia, grows in between pads of tile, allowing rainwater to infiltrate into the soil. The blue green color in the tile was picked up and carried onto the walls of the alcove. Rare palm trees were planted and will soon grow to create a lush canopy, casting beautiful shadows on the walls at night.
The layout of the space is really different from other sites I have worked with, in that it has an enclosed inner courtyard that I knew would be a perfect place to create a relaxing space for the home owners. The home is quite large, with separate spaces and patios, so I gave the project a working name of “Exotic Villa”, you can see my inspiration board of images here.
The covered room in between the two garages is the first space you walk through on your way to the front door. We brought this space to life by painting it a deep dark, yet at the same time bright blue. This bold color is the perfect backdrop for the metal shelves that hold a collection of the homeowners favorite pots filled with succulents, ferns and other shade tolerant plants. We switched out boring can lights, for these beautiful handmade bronze lanterns.
I created three distinct seating areas within this large enclosed courtyard, along with a water fountain and wall garden that is a focal point both from inside the home and outside.
A moroccan tiled table is a favorite morning coffee spot in the garden, and is surrounded by lush mediterranean plants, such as edible figs, scented geraniums, and succulents.
The next space we revived was a small area overtaken by a large pine tree that sprouted from a volunteer seed in a tiny planter, too close to the house for safety. Once we cleared the space out we added antique shutters from India in a beautiful patina, and planted madagascar jasmine that will eventually grow to cover much of the wall. The homeowners were excited to grow more fruits in the garden so we planted a tangerine tree and a passion fruit vine in this area too. The scents from the jasmine, citrus blossoms and peppermint scented geranium perfume the space and add to the exotic vibe.
The back patio was painted a lighter aqua blue to match the second Moroccan fountain picked out by the homeowners. It is located on a wall that can be seen from almost every room in the house and brings them a lot of joy. I surrounded the fountain with more madagascar jasmine and planted mint and thyme at the base, so when you sit on the edge of the fountain you might step on a few leaves releasing herbal aromas.
There is so much more of this garden that I haven’t shown you; a custom tiled fire table, a built in carved wood sofa, a koi pond and many more exotic plants. Please subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more photos in the coming months as this garden springs to life.