Beach Retreat

Spectacular views of the ocean inspired a unique "backyard" landscape design project for a busy family beach house. Perched on the edge of the Pacific with southern exposure, wind, and salt air this 940 square foot beach area needed some love. The client wanted to enjoy the space with a fire pit and find a way to store surfboards and kayaks and have a shower for de-sanding people, pets and beach gear. The design intent was not only to create a comfortable and relaxed beachy backyard, but to provide a shower with privacy, built-in seating, and a storage area out of view. 

35 cubic yards (5 truckloads!) of beach sand was added one wheelbarrow at a time to raise the grade 18" over most of the yard. Existing concrete was used under the deck to create an unseen dry-stacked urbanite retaining wall. Added flagstone walls were built around the visible portions of the preexisting wall. Flagstone steps are integrated into the wall for access to the shower and storage area. With the rip-rap wall and three bottom risers being partially buried into additional imported beach sand, a person sitting in the yard is now able to enjoy views of the ocean.

Custom contemporary teak and concrete furniture placed around the fire pit include lounge chairs that encourage relaxing, digging toes into the sand and catching the sunset. With pavers providing a stable, way-finding path to the garden. Pots in various size, shape and texture are made from earthy materials. Carefully chosen plants that thrive in this environment add a palette of green shades from sage to silver. A massive teak root bench provides space to put on a wetsuit or apply sunscreen. 

We created a landscape that feels like a private extension of the beach. The GDA team built the garden with their in-house crew, including demolition, grading, pavers, fence, fire pit, stone bench, retaining walls, steps, irrigation, planting, pots, furniture and shower. The property now features drip irrigation, drought-resistant plants, overall low maintenance care, and low voltage LED landscape lighting.

It’s all about the beach when the family is there, and this space is the transition between the house and the beach. We wanted it to be beautiful, useful and low maintenance—no fuss, no muss. The family now enjoys the fresh, welcoming beach space and has made it their own with their rock art and shells collected on the beach.