11915 Atlantic Avenue - Cluster 1A

The garden was conceived as an extension to the house. To be inviting and open towards the street and to provide additional room for many uses. For a family of five with cats and a dog the front yard had to be kids friendly, spacious, robust and drought tolerant.

A large redwood deck acting as porch extension provides the stage for many activities and opens the house towards the street. The deck continues around the corner to create an outdoor dining room that can be hidden from the street with a sliding gate.

A vegetable garden on the side of the driveway is placed so it receives full sun for most of the day. The planters are shaped as triangles so they look nice and give space when car doors are opened. Worm compost bins help feed the vegetables.

Striving towards sustainability is an important part of the family's life and integrating such features was very important. Decomposed granite covers most of the ground and provides a neat surface to run without using any water. Half of the roof drains rainwater into a swale that feeds the bamboo hedge towards one neighbor. The redwood used for the deck and the fencing was left untreated, maintenance is reduced to scrubbing once a year with oil soap. Thereby no chemicals are needed to preserve the wood. For the side gate cedar was charred to create a similar preservation and a stunning look.

The concrete driveway was cut with a slots to add some low water green and to capture water run off to let it seep into the ground.

Formwork for the concrete wall was reused as paving in the DG.

Grevillas, calendrina and hesperolae attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. The grevilla creates a carefully designed veil towards the street, creating some privacy without locking anybody out.

Construction began in the fall of 2012 and planting was finished in March 2013.

The owner is an architectural designer. Alison Hurst (Grow Garden Design) was involved in concept design and plant selection.