3442 Colonial Street - Cluster 3F


The owners have lived in this house for 20 years. At times over the years, the garden was pretty and well-tended. Lawns in front and back, a lovely giant ficus tree in front and flowers. They always had to hand water the lawn and plants for lack of an irrigation system. It all worked until ...it didn't.

Just prior to the garden redesign last year, the yard had become severely neglected. They no longer had time to hand water the required one hour at a time. The lawn was dead. The ficus tree in front, which had always provided shade for the shade flowers, had died, which also meant all of the flowers had died as well. Just picture it. Dry, dead, devoid of life and, obviously, ugly.

Their goals for landscaping were not lofty:

1. No lawn ANYwhere.
2. Install an irrigation system so they won't have to water for an hour.
3. Design a space the boys (1 tween/1 teen) and the owners will want to use.
4. Use pretty, native plants that don't need much care.

They interviewed several landscape architects and, upon meeting Shannon Cushing (Cushing Landscape Design) knew she was the right designer. They could tell she thought this project would be a challenge as well as fun. She also understood they didn't have endless funds to invest.

The newly designed front and back garden met all of their goals and exceeded all of their expectations. They now have an inviting front yard that includes a small sitting space on top where they sometimes read or have coffee. Neighbors as well as people they've never spoken to before continue to comment on what a lovely space it is. The stone path in front is pretty and practical: no walking on gravel to get to the driveway and the path is broad enough so everyone can walk on it at the same time to get to where they need to without trampling on plants.

The backyard is now a four-room oasis.

1. Dining
2. Hangout: built-in stone bench/fire pit
3. Play: jacuzzi and trampoline
4. Decorative/functional: fruit trees and all-year flowering slope

This family now uses the backyard all the time: daytime, nighttime, warm weather and chilly. And if the adults are out having adult conversation by the fire pit, the boys can be in the play area or eating in the dining area. Everyone has their private space if they want it, but they can all be together, too.

The owners invite you to tour their garden and hear all about the creative and planning process! 
Homeowner will be on hand to lead you through garden and distribute list of plants used in design. Landscape designer will be on hand for part of the day to address questions.

Balthasar Leon (818-317-1217) was the mason. Carlos Almaraz (310-977-6198) did the irrigation and planting.