3254 Inglewood Boulevard

The primary impetus for the landscape overhaul in the front of the house was to add a new play space for their children.

Prior to this project they had grass in the front yard and all the balls rolled downhill as they like to say. They never spent time in the front yard and the lawn never looked healthy since all the water ran off down the street. It just wasn't pleasant. They ended up with a beautiful garden surrounding a gravel play area for their children to enjoy. The centerpieces are two olive trees and a huge boulder.

They planted Mediterranean natives in a palette of soft grey and burgundy with a mix of interesting textures for their children to explore and to create interest visually. Their son's favorite part of the yard is the guava hedge. He loves to pick fruit directly from them. The Syrah grape vines are also nice for this and serve a very functional cooling function through the hottest days of the year. In addition the guava hedge and Syrah grapes, they also added edibles in pots. A few of their favorites beyond the edibles are the anemones, Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Marjorie Channon' and lophomyrtus ralphii 'Black Stallion'. The non-fruiting olives also add balance and softness to the yard.

The garden was designed by Grace Phillips and is "California friendly". Although not strictly 100% native, the palette is mixed between some Mediterranean and some California cultivars. They have many plants from Native Sons Nursery, which is a wonderful developer of new climate-appropriate hybrids. The front yard is is permeable, and has zero runoff. Before, when the grass spray was on, the water would saturate the surface of the soil and then shed down the hill. Now, all the water is delivered slowly enough that there is no runoff, and since it is all subsurface we have eliminated the 30% or so of spray that is blown away and evaporates.

The yard now has a fence -- corral wire to save material and provide a brighter look -- that is lined with a guava hedge, which produced delicious fruit last fall. Inside of this hedge, there is a planter with "California friendly" plants including lavenders. This rings the main space of the front yard, which is a large gravel play area. This is a level space that was carefully and creatively leveled by absorbing the slope through a small retaining wall below, and putting a slight grade in the planter areas above and below the space. Not only did this remove the lawn and associated water runoff, but it made a beautiful and secure play space that their son loves. Since this is the sun side, the grapes provide natural shade for the house and help keep the house cooler in the hottest parts of the summer. It also provides tasty fruit that their son loves to pick right off the vines.

The water usage in the front of the house has likely dropped dramatically -- it's probably 20% of what it was. Irrigation is through an automatic watering system connected to a weather sensor to adjust for temperature and precipitation. The irrigation is all through buried lines with the exception of three pots that are connected to an small external drip (automatic too). The landscape designer and landscape maintenance specialist may be there to answer questions.