The Duke was a complete landscape project and site development. FWLI envisioned a modern and approachable garden that stood as a cultivation of ideas brought together by our design team and our clients keen design sense. Low fencing at the entry keeps the peak-a-boo ocean views in tact. Soft grasses, blooming yarrow, specimen aloes, and giant artichoke accentuate the soft scape while meticulously built concrete and hand placed sea walls anchor the infrastructure and create a sense of place. Hidden surprises like abalone and sea-shells connect the landscape to the comfortable beach home theme that blends with a simple yet modern aesthetic.
Site features include: Built-in Spa, Outdoor shower, ample redwood decks, Fire-pit, Loll outdoor furniture.
Krueger House is the latest completed project at Mozart Ave. The owner requested an overgrown wild aesthetic to compliment the white beach house architecture. We facilitated that request with flowing grasses and gravel walkways that lead to private enclaves. The front makes use of the ocean view and makes for a casual sitting and fire pit scenario while surrounded by the untamed vegetation. Krueger house is part of the larger Mozart Ave. residential development in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA.
In this Cardiff-by-the-Sea compact garden space, the home-owner requested an understated and modern rhythm. The challenge was to facilitate functionality and beauty in a small space with fixed elements - and for it to perform as an extension of the living space. We utilized multiple planes to take advantage of the space with overhead festoon lights, green walls (Wooly Pockets) and a softened ground plane. The synthesis resulting in a comfortable space for entertaining family and friends.
Plant highlights: Echeveria imbricata, Juncus patens 'Elk Blue', Weaver's bamboo, Cercis 'Forest Pansy'
Modern aesthetic and simple materials best describes this La Jolla, CA project. The usage of concrete, wood, and swaths of pattern in the landscape material reinforces the simple aesthetic, and imbues boldness in design intent. Texture, pattern, and material are the major themes of the design while embracing a seamless transition from indoor and outdoor living. The client requested simplicity and quality and this project meets those requirements.
Falling Waters was asked to help facilitate the landscape on this impeccable home in Coastal Solana Beach. We worked along with Hollis-Fulton Design/Build and Occidental Landscape. The result is an indoor/outdoor experience unique in almost every way.
Mozart ave is a Residential Development in Cardiff CA. with five new residences and one existing. The existing home was built in the early 20th century and has a Craftsman aesthetic with coastal influences. The new homes (designed by Brett Farrow, Architect) are all unique, but have an unspoken vocabulary with one another. A simple and climate appropriate plant palette was selected with materials that are true and refined. FWLI was retained to design and install the landscapes on four of the properties and the existing home.
A 28 year old spa and redwood deck were falling apart in this garden in Encinitas. The homeowners had already removed a decaying wood arbor and additional deck underneath a towering Podocarpus tree. Varying heights around the existing tree was creating a water-issue against the house. Boulders had been used for several decades to shore up the soil from against the stucco siding. Unfortunately the stucco had severe damage and needed repairs. Dozens of granite cobblestones were hidden in the old garden. The cobbles came from C Street in downtown San Diego, circa 1850.
The resulting garden has a Neo-Asian feel incorporating a glass tile fountain and reflecting pool, a new overhead structure with UV filtering shade cloth that protects but doesn’t overpower the space, and a synthetic turf area. The Podocarpus tree was thinned out aggressively to allow more sun to penetrate down to a new raised garden bed with Sago palms, various varieties of Ophiopogon (Mondo grass), and ‘Yellow Wave’ Phormiums. The cobbles were cleaned and repurposed to create a path from the side-yard to the backyard much to the surprise and delight of the Antique-loving owners.
While the backyard was under construction, we were retained to redesign the front yard. A new entryway and retaining walls invite guests to the front door. A custom rock fountain was constructed on-site to add sound and movement to the new front porch planting area. A Chinese Flame tree was craned in to provide shade over a ‘lawn’ of Sedges and Fescues (Carex albula, Carex testacea, Festuca mairei) ground junipers and Blue Fescue. The three small Black Pines (Pinus thunbergii) in the garden receive bi-annual pruning from a traditional Bonsai artist. One of the trees, upon further inspection, turned out to be a very rare Red Pine.
The Rhee home in San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood presented several challenges. A 60’ Cottonwood tree loomed over the humble single-story house, unnecessarily shading too much of the house and threatening to undermine the structure with its invasive root system. The tree’s roots infiltrated ever square inch of the property, destroying the porch, driveway, and creating a constant mess. The porch was arguably out of scale with the rest of the house, and a rusted iron railing was equally uninviting. The 8’ wide driveway proved to be too narrow for vehicle and pedestrian access. The new landscape was designed and built to fit the specific needs of the client. The front yard landscape was addressed by removing the overgrown tree and giving the home a facelift, with a new paint color and a new entry off the sidewalk. Two offset Olive trees now frame the entry. Plantings of ornamental grasses, Yucca rostrata, Agaves, and specimen Aloes compliment the subdued color palette and house color.
In the rear courtyard four separate doorways opened up to a modest – but little used – space. The client wanted a seamless indoor-outdoor experience with a wish list including a deck space, fire-pit, water feature, increased privacy, and integrated seating. Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood from the Tabebuia tree was used for the decking and privacy screens. Syndecrete tiles (www.syndecrete.com) make up the fascia of the small pond. The fire feature is constructed out of poured in place concrete juxtaposed against black polished concrete. The space is punctuated with fiber cement planters by Green-Form (www.green-form.com) and an outdoor grill by Fuego™. The bench is a Falling Waters design.
An existing ‘Natural” water garden and simple fire feature with beach sand were removed in favor of a more usable sitting space and deeper pond. The owners love their prize Koi, and the existing pond was being attacked by Blue Herons and Raccoons. We designed a much larger and deeper pond that could also be used as a Spa in the future if desired. The fish have over 4’ of depth and sheer walls that make it almost impossible for predators. The fire feature and surrounding deck compliment the new pond’s modern feel.
Designed by San Diego Architect John Mock in 1963, this Mid-Century home on Mt. Helix was painstakingly restored over a 12 month period. Falling Waters was asked to interpret a conceptual plan by a local Landscape Architect, and manage the project’s installation. The result has been a seamless indoor-outdoor experience, with the garden undergoing a massive renovation itself.
Sitting on close to a full acre, the house on Snyder St. presented many challenges. Extreme grade changes and poor soil conditions were only the beginning. During the design phase the home was granted historical status which confined the renovation to certain materials and construction techniques. These restrictions encouraged all those involved to be more creative and conscious of the environment, the site, and the materials used.
A laundry list of specimen plants were brought in to highlight the homes clean lines and existing boulders. Simple masonry block walls, seeded aggregate decking, poured in place concrete coping, and railroad tie stairs make up the Mid-Century hard-scape.
The garden has evolved since completion in late 2007 to now include a Chicken coop, expanded vegetable garden, a modest grove of Citrus, and its latest addition; three 80 year old Manzanillo Olive trees to shade a deck space at the top of the property.
The home has been featured in numerous publications in print and online. It was named San Diego Home and Garden “Home of the Year” in 2009, and featured in Sunset magazine in October of the same year. It has been featured in several online design blogs, HGTV, TV commercials, and is used regularly for magazine and print Ads.
Garden Title: ‘The Modern Patio’
The secret to the Modern Patio is not so much in the elements one uses, but how these elements are used together to complete the scene. Incidentally, modern gardening is just that; using available and affordable materials in a way that makes sense for the region, location, and times we are living in. San Diego is home to an eclectic mix of flora and fauna and with its many micro-climates come many opportunities to use not just ‘Native’ plant material, but a panoply of interesting and extraordinary plants. The ‘Outdoor Room’ is becoming increasingly popular, and here in San Diego we are perfectly suited for the outdoor lifestyle, and since most of us don’t have unlimited real-estate, our outdoor spaces demand to be utilized.
“The Modern Patio” is meant to be experienced, not gazed at from afar. It’s a destination, a place to relax and forget about your worries. This space shouldn’t be burdensome or require more time to maintain than one can afford. Here in San Diego it should be planned to use water in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
This design is intended to surprise and delight. The quadratic ubiquity of most “modern” spaces is broken by the curves in the concrete and the black volcanic rock planter beds. The vertical succulent garden draws the eye up, while the water feature, with its sound and movement brings us back to the space. The visual relationship between the elements should complement, not compete for your attention. This show garden was designed to be experienced, and refresh the visitor.
This 9’x15’ courtyard for an International Design Firm based in San Diego offered little in the way of space, but with restrictions come opportunities. We toyed with several different layouts, knowing we needed an enclosed space for the trash can and that a water feature was a must. Being directly under the flight path near Lindberg Field, the new water feature affords some noise mediation, while the space over-all is much more usable. Well lights in the planter, underwater lights, and ambient lighting under the bench make the space usable at night. The space is used for al fresco meetings, a waiting area for clients, and as a sanctuary from the office. The construction team had 10 days to do the install and access was extremely limited.
Garden Title: ‘Art and Texture’
The garden for the 2008 San Diego Fair was designed and built with clean lines, minimalist spaces, and one very large tree. A 100 year old Sevillano Olive tree was trucked in from Northern California. Olive trees have a unique capacity to be relocated with minimal damage to the tree. The tree was placed first, directly on top of the asphalt parking lot, and during the next 10 days the garden was constructed around it. An unfinished ‘single score’ block wall created a backdrop for the scene and added a feeling of enclosure. A 36” sheet of water spills into a runnel-style pond that separates landscape from decking. The stained redwood deck with custom concrete fire feature represented the ‘entertaining area’. The Olive tree was surrounded by Palm Springs Gold Decomposed Granite. To add softness and height to the garden, Bamboo (Bambusa textilis gracilis) was used on one side, while a raised planter with Miscanthus (Maiden grass) and Perovskia (Russian sage) frame the opposite side. The garden was contained by redwood borders, stucco walls, and rusted sheet metal. Custom Concrete benches provided seating for fair-goers. The display won several awards, including Best of Show. The Olive tree was donated to Quail Botanical Gardens for their newly inaugurated Children’s Garden. We hear it is doing just fine.
Fencing was needed to screen the front patio of this interesting Row home Pacific Beach, CA. Horizontal Cedar was used with wide gaps to allow light into the shady patio. A sliding gate was designed to maximize space and add visual interest. Modern style house numbers were added to complete the look. Existing boulders were resituated to create a Japanese inspired rock and moss garden.
To achieve the desired look in the backyard at the Bluemer Residence, several designs were produced. The wish list included a new Fireplace, BBQ, entertaining area, water feature, and vegetable garden.
The existing garden included a steep slope punctuated by an assortment of overgrown trees and iceplant. Underused and much maligned grass areas were ditched in favor of a zero-maintenance combo of saw-cut concrete and Decomposed Granite patios. A stuccoed retaining wall holds back the newly graded slope, planted with a mix of ornamental grasses, Agave Americana, and Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’). The water feature serves multiple purposes, connecting the side and back yards by way of ‘floating’ exposed aggregate pavers. A poured in place concrete formation holds a galvanized steel scupper that spills into the reflecting pool. Three ‘Desert Museum’ Hybrid Palo Verde (no thorns) trees trucked in from Palm Springs complete the theme for this garden.
Theme: “Coastal Retreat”
FWLI participated in the 2009 Spring Home and Garden Show in San Diego. A Modern Cabana with mid-century furniture punctuates a ‘Dune-scape’ garden, recalling the beach and al fresco entertaining. A serpentine concrete wall defines an entertaining area, and a custom ‘Beach Sand’ mixture provides the walking paths and inorganic mulch for the plantings. Plant material includes: Arbutus unedo, Aeoniums, Stipa tenuisima, Helictotrichon sempervirons, Aloes, Manzanitas, Carex pansa, and Armeria maritime ‘Sea-thrift’. Railroad tie stairs were used to access the garden and seating areas. Driftwood from the beaches just south of Big Sur reinforces the theme. Sculpture from our friends at Terra Sculpture add an artistic flair.
The Cabana was purchased by a local designer and installed as her office. FWLI continues to be the Southern California contact for Modern Cabana