3210 Kelton Avenue

Coming through the gate and into this yard is like entering a magical space. The street and neighborhood traffic feel a long way off. Hummingbirds and bees are ever-present. In addition, many plants have a subtle fragrance that will delight you – after rain, the smell of rosemary and sage is intoxicating.

When the owners bought their home in 2001, the garden was as sad and neglected as the interior. Moreover, the site wasn’t properly graded. When it rained, the foundation flooded and the view from inside required looking up, which made the living room feel buried.

The re-do was both aesthetic and structural. The project, done in 2008 by Pam Bottaro of Red Lemon Landscape Design, called for excavating several feet of dirt, then installing steps and retaining walls so the yard is on the same level as the house. A flat pad allows water to percolate down and pebble pathways provide additional drainage.

From the start, they wanted a waterwise design but worried it might be too austere for their 1927 house. Pam installed drip irrigation and chose native plants that perfectly complemented the old house’s “fairytale” look. They love the yard’s cottage feel and how the leveling gives them a beautiful view from their living room.