For this young family in Leucadia, CA. usable space was a must. The existing backyard of their 70’s ranch was a gently sloping field of weeds with no barrier to the open space beyond – hardly suitable for their 2 young children. FWLI was tasked with space planning, garden design and executing the installation of this 5000sqf space.
Identifying the intent of each space and how they interact with each other was key to making the garden flow. Specific entertaining areas, flex space, play space and dedicated green space all interact in this garden. A large steel and wood structure with louvered steel cross-members creates the seating and eating area while also mitigated the setting sun in the west. A large built-in Grill and counter-top area is ideal for alfresco entertaining. The spa acts as the central axis around which the rest of the garden rotates. Its elevation helps take advantage of the ocean view and anchors the raised redwood deck. A tucked in fire-pit area protects against windy evenings and an ample UC-Verde buffalo grass lawn.
Plant Highlights: Bouteloua ‘blond ambition’, Achillea sp., Agave vilmoriniana ‘var.’ Quercus sp., Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’, Cordyline austrailis, mahonia sp., Euphorbia ammak, numerous Cal. Native plants
Design elements: Timber retaining wall/permanent city required drainage basin, cast concrete, redwood decking, Decomposed Granite pathways,
Completed Winter 2015
Winner 2016 CLCA San Diego Sweepstakes Award for best overall project.
Recently completed for a young family in Newport's Dover Shores community. The Indoors blend seamlessly with the exterior. A small pool with integrated sun-deck and automatic cover take up about 1/3 of the backyard. BBQ, Fire feature with built-in seating and modest turf area complete the space. Bold Cactus, succulents and sub-tropical foliage create a verdant and cooling effect while using very little water. In the front yard, Large Olives were brought in to obscure the master bedroom which sits 20' from the street. A masonry and white plaster rendered wall create a private entry courtyard dotted with Agaves, Echeverias, grasses and sun-grown Dracaena marginata.
- Horizontal Cedar fascia with a natural sealer
- Standing seam metal roof (by owner)
- Combo of Seeded aggregate paving, granite flagstone, decomposed granite, turf, redwood flooring
- LED lighting throughout
- Viking exterior appliances
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.
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.
Located in Encinitas, CA. 'Mainhouse' is an interesting development of highly customizable estate homes. The idea is that each home-site will have a 'Mainhouse' and then an ancillary unit for family, office, pool-house, in-law suite, etc. Past clients purchased a home and brought FWLI in to renovate the frontyard landscape. We created a series of manageable vegetable boxes set between a flagstone patio and a gently sloping orchard filled with grapes, apples, plums and other assorted espaliered fruit trees.
Recently completed on the south side of Batiquitos Lagoon in coastal Encinitas, this custom home (JLC Architecture) for a family of four includes a strong linear lap pool, Citrus and sub-tropical fruit orchard, extensive native planting, Buffalo grass lawn, and more. FWLI spent 24 months on the design and implementation of the gardens, working closely with the owners, General & Pool Contractor. Existing mature specimen trees were pruned and protected in place during construction. Project waste and run-off were kept to an absolute minimum with the lagoon being so close. Native and naturalized native plants were used to give the modern home a sense of place. This beautifully designed home captures some of North County’s best views of the ocean and active wild-life.
Design elements: Brazillian Ipe wood screening, mature Olive tree specimens, drivable grass parking area, 100% organic garden, natural boulder retaining walls, world class pool/spa combination (Extreme Pools)
Completed Summer 2016
Set on a gentle slope overlooking the Del Mar Fairgrounds and adjacent lagoon, this special home channels Frank Lloyd Wright's 'Fallingwater' in Bear Run, PA. Deep roof eaves and natural materials create a backdrop for an eclectic plant palate, multiple water-features, sculpture, and hidden paths. The young family who calls this place home also requested a putting green, Birch trees to remind them of New England, and Zen-like courtyard with a plunge pool. The sculptures, Swinging nest and the vintage ride were all provided by the client.
Architecture: Dominy + Associates
Interiors: By owner
Photo cred. Yuki Batterson
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'
Private Residence in Eastlake, San Diego, CA.
Desert Modern style with two distinctive outdoor spaces separated by a large aubergine wall with duel fireplaces. Separate entrances allow for private entry to Granny flat in the backyard. Sweeping views of Otay Lake and the mountains beyond are framed with Mesquite, Yucca rostrata, grasses and fencepost cactus.
A modern aesthetic and simple materials best describes this La Jolla, CA project. FWLI used concrete, Ipe wood, and ‘planting drifts’ in the landscape to reference a ‘Coastal Zen’ feel. The materials reinforces the modern aesthetic of the house (Jackson Design & Remodeling), and imbues boldness into the design intent.
Texture, pattern, and material are the major themes of the design while embracing a seamless transition from indoor and outdoor living.
Design elements: Brazillian Ipe wood decking, Japanese Black Pines (trained), exposed aggregate driveway, Fire-pit by Solus, Weaver’s Bamboo screening
Completed Spring 2013
Rooftop garden in the Crown Point neighborhood in Pacific Beach.
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. At the entry, Tea trees and Ornamental Strawberry trees were planted along with a low water (but lush) landscape. Timbers retain the soil and Arizona moss rock create the steps with grey-green Dymondia groundcover "grouting" the steps together
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.
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.
Recently completed in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA.
In 2016 FWLI had the privilege to work with the owners of this home in South Orange County’s Ladera Ranch gated community. Like several communities in our area, the homes are gorgeous and the lots spacious, but they can lack individuality and not necessarily keep up with trending design styles. FWLI is often asked to bridge the gap between an exterior of a home that cannot be changed with a more modern and sensible landscape.
While on holiday in Spain, Principal designer Ryan Prange conceptualized the landscape on a rainy day in an Airbnb. “The layout for the spaces uses repetition and formality… the plant material and mature trees will soften it and give a ‘park-like’ feel to the garden.”
Despite certain challenges of working in the County of Orange, the design was realized in late 2016. The family has since relocated to pursue new adventures. The home sold in less than 30 days in early 2017
Project highlights: Saltwater pool with automatic cover, entertaining area with galley-style outdoor kitchen, Bistro lighting, dedicated dog area, sport court and brand new landscaping.
Completed Summer 2016
FWLI was brought in to design and build the landscape for this modern home in Costa Mesa, CA. The project was photographed shortly after install, without the landscape having the proper time to mature.
The program requested included an oversized spa/plunge pool with automatic safety cover, decking and lounging area, Grill, and putting green for the client to practice their short game. The side-yards, front yard and some exterior fascia work was also needed to give this non-descript ranch some life and personality. FWLI worked alongside the talented interior designer, Kathryn Miller to help bring the indoors outside. We look forward to seeing this project fill in over the years
Completed Fall 2016
In a small pocket of La Jolla lies a street named after Ellen Browning Scripps, journalist and philanthropist and founding donor of several major Southern California institutions, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Ellen was an advocate for education, democracy, woman’s rights and science. She gave most of her fortune away before passing in the 1930’s.
This project was special for us at FWLI, being the second home we worked on with previous clients, the Hope’s. The Hope’s live and breathe the environment, and requested 100% California native plants, educational spaces for the son and entertaining areas where they could jam with their musician friends. They brought a quiet sense of humility and honesty to a community renowned for opulence. While they have since relocated and the home is in new hands, we valued the experience and the little bit of ‘native goodness’ we could bring back to Ellentown Rd.
Project highlights: Repurposed parking area with ‘urbanite’, community free library, 100% native landscape, fruit trees, meandering paths, innovative drainage/swales and streambeds to not allow any run-off, custom landscape light fixtures
133 Mozart 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. 133 Mozart is part of the larger Mozart Ave. residential development in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA.
Do you have a “Golden State of Mind”?
We are uniquely Californian; A diverse and eclectic group who love the outdoors unlike any other. Specifically, “Golden State of Mind” aims to represent the Southern California “Outdoor Den”, a place to hang out and soak in the great outdoors. Personal design cues add to the unique qualities of the California landscape along with livable spaces, appropriate California native plants, and working with existing elements that bring us closer to the outdoors. Come home and step outside… BBQ with your family. Sit next to the fire. Tell a story. Play a game, or two and make it comfortable, livable, and embrace the space you call your own.
Winner Best Overall landscape 2014 Spring Garden Show
The breeze is just right at the top of Eucalyptus Hill in La Mesa. The way the sun sets isn't too shabby either. The original garden boasted an out-of-scale Canary Island Date Palm, once prized and considered a status symbol, but now was a maintenance nightmare and dangerously close to the power lines. Stands of Giant Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) concealed the simple lines of the house and the modest entry screen and trellis - built by the owner.
We attempted to sell the Palm but were stonewalled by the neighbors refusal to allow us to use their "dirt" front lot to park the crane. So the palm came down - in pieces - and was replaced with a specimen Olive, assorted under-plantings, and various Aloes from the owners personal collection. A new driveway with integrated channel drain fixed some drainage issues, and new walkway from the curb is a welcome to visitors.
We used Coyote gold DG and boulders to compliment the simple color palette. The garden is now much more 'climate-appropriate' and acts as supporting cast to the clean and simple roof-line and trellis.
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.
Currently in design... this project on the PB side of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla will have an in-ground spa, outdoor kitchen, TV, fire, deck space and capitolize on the amazing views.
Construction to begin winter of 16'