Shadow Hills

A Rosarian's Delight: The Landscape Design Challenge

Site Challenges

This client's backyard was dominated by a gopher-eaten lawn, some unloved foundation plantings and a few valiant, care-worn roses. In answer to her plea for a gopher- and rabbit-free garden with sufficient paths for "clean shoe" planting and sufficient bed-space for lots of roses, we set about creating her super-floriferous dream garden.

The Solution

The sloping rear yard was terraced and the patio was enlarged, shaded by an arbor and embraced by a perimeter seat wall. Rose-colored travertine paths provide structure for a formal garden layout, with a strong primary axis of a central fountain, "grand" staircase and garden gates that pull the eye out to the expansive ocean view on the horizon. Secondary and tertiary axes of matching travertine paths-complete with focal point objects at each axis terminus-create formal beds and provide good mud-free access for gardening throughout.

Design Approach

The formality of the hardscape is in no way mirrored in the plantings. The beds are thickly layered with a barely-contained riot of color. The contrast between the rectilinear structure of the garden and the voluptuous plantings is soul-lifting-it's a garden that might have taken itself too seriously if it didn't have such a great sense of humor. A low (pink!) stucco wall and deep barrier around the garden perimeter provide the perfect backdrop for the plantings and keep out pesky rabbits and gophers.

The garden was designed to be enjoyed from ground level and from the balcony above, with an eyeful of joyous color that suits the client's personality. Plantings include lots of roses from her "favorite roses" list, with perennials and a few annuals to knit it all together. It can be very challenging to make a collection of plants into a cohesive and delightful garden, but the strong structure of this garden accomplishes just that!


Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Merit Award 2010