Magazine article Sunset

Front-to-Back Makeover: A Bland Garden Is Transformed Thanks to the Clever Reuse of On-Site Materials

Magazine article Sunset

Front-to-Back Makeover: A Bland Garden Is Transformed Thanks to the Clever Reuse of On-Site Materials

Article excerpt

WHAT TO SAVE, what to lose? These are questions that surface every time you renovate a garden. Sometimes scrapping everything and starting with a clean slate seems like the only solution. But if you look carefully enough, even the blandest landscape usually has elements worth saving. That was the thinking behind the makeover pictured here--a collaboration between garden designer Heidi Santschi and homeowner Gayle Troll.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When Gayle and her husband, John, moved into their ranch-style home in Pacific Palisades, California, a few years ago, they inherited a front yard that was mostly dead lawn and a backyard that was largely concrete. What they wanted was a proper front entrance with privacy screening and better curb appeal- In the back-yard, they yearned for an outdoor kitchen, a secret spot for John to sunbathe, a patch of lawn for a new dog, and a more colorful view from their home's large back windows than the existing slope covered with Algerian ivy.

Recycled concrete

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

To make way for the new landscaping, Santschi first removed 2,500 square feet of concrete paving in the backyard. But instead of sending the broken pieces to a landfill, she reused them to build a low retaining wall that snakes across the front yard and curls around the corner of the property. She also used the fragments to build the front steps (which she separated with Dymondia margaretae so they appear to float), a water feature in the new entry courtyard, as well as a firepit and barbecue station in back. By the time the project was finished, practically every piece had been recycled. "The broken concrete became the textural ribbon that tied the whole project together," Santschi says.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Elegant new entrance

Across the front of the entry courtyard, a series of staggered walls creates privacy. Another "wall" of welded wire mesh is carefully placed along the side of the courtyard to allow late-afternoon offshore breezes to waft through and to frame sunset views. "I love the subtlety of my new front yard," Gayle says. "It has a lot more presence, yet is modestly off-key--exactly what I hoped for."

Backyard retreat

After all the concrete was removed, the backyard's most obvious feature was a corner where two retaining walls met in a 75[degrees] angle. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.