3036 Stoner Avenue


This family enjoys the outdoors and cooking, so they decided it was time to make the outside of their home as beautiful and functional as the indoors. Meeting with Leo Yao of R.I.C.E. construction and Frank Tremmel of Neighborhood Nursery, they put their plan together.

Priority one was making beds for vegetables and fruit trees, while leaving room in the small rear yard to entertain. Since space is an issue the vegetable garden is integrated with the landscape plantings. The number of fruits trees increased significantly, from 5 to 20, by espaliering the citrus trees and grape vines against the fence and walls wherever feasible. In the front yard, fruit trees with interesting character, like the beautiful trunks of the pineapple and white guava trees are highlighted.

Moderate sized flowering and fragrant trees - Michelea champaca Alba and the Pink Trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa) - are located to give shade where necessary and to block views of neighboring structures. Drought tolerant plants replaced the more thirsty plants and lawn areas. These plants use both form and texture as well as color to make the landscape stand out at all times of year.

The original concrete patio was functional and just large enough to hold the patio tables and chairs, but lacked character. By redesigning the space and keeping the same overall square footage, a true entertaining area was formed. The beautiful new BBQ was set near the kitchen, but is softened by the surrounding landscape. The sitting area now allows room for a table and chairs sitting eight. And the fire pit, with built in seating, feels part of the entire yard yet is a place a few friends can sit apart from the rest of the group and have a more intimate conversation.

A real stone waterfall has become the central focus of the rear yard. Visually appealing and viewable from all angles in the house and the rear yard, the water also has a soothing effect that cancels out the sounds of the urban environment. The falls are pondless to save water and are activated by a remote control switch so they do not run until you want to enjoy them. The waterfall is also lit at night.

Outdoor lighting was selected not to be the landscape, but to be hidden. Pathways are safely lit. Corners are lit to eliminate shadows to make the yard look larger. Walking throughout the property at night you will not be distracted by light shining in your eyes. Very importantly, security is improved. The lighting is set to come on at dusk by photo cell and turn off at a predetermined time to save energy.

Maintenance? Very little maintenance is required. Low volume, micro spray irrigation saves water and deep waters all planting zones. All plants were chosen to be the perfect size at maturity. No shearing and hedge trimming is required here. Deadheading and lacing out the trees and shrubs several times a year is all that is required.