Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another New House

Seven months ago one son bought his first house in Denver and asked me to help him landscape his tiny city lot, which I'm excited to do this April.

Now the other son just closed on his first house, this one in California, north of L.A., and it comes with established landscaping that the newlywed new homeowners are excited about.

It's a tidy ranch on a smallish lot, but the back yard was what sold them on the property. There is lawn, which is green in this rainy California year, but normally would be something of a problem to keep watered. I'm not sure about that, but a flat space for play is an attraction for them right now.

The garden feature is a steep terraced hillside. It appears that it is already well planted with groundcovers and some fruit trees and mounding shrubs. I don't know California plants at all, but I am happy to look at this garden when we go out there at the end of March and see if I can offer any advice to neophyte gardener homeowners.

Meanwhile, before our visit, I can check out the realtor photos and get a feel for this unusual garden spot.

It really is steep -- that's a climb up those stairs to the top. Thank goodness the new homeowners are young, because tending to anything up and down in these gardens will require calf muscles.

The reward at the top is a sitting area with a couple of Adirondack chairs and it looks like a lovely spot to rest. Behind the fence at the top there is another house, but it's well hidden. The view from the chairs is of the neighborhood -- there is no ocean or mountain view, but I think it will be relaxing and have a real sense of vista up there, while still letting you feel enclosed among the plantings on the hillside.

Prospect and refuge -- the two essential elements of human landscapes. We love best those places that let us look out at the world from a place of safety. I think their new garden has that.

I don't know about the plantings. I have no experience with what grows in California and may not even recognize what's on this hillside. It will be fun to learn and I'll try to help them with suggested maintenance and care advice.

But I don't think there is much design or plant selection that is needed. These terraces are already well designed and seem to have plants that complement the prospect, offer comfortable refuge, and are nice to look at from the patio below too.

When I visit my son and his wife, if I am going to sit in one of those chairs at the top, I'll need some assistance. Some day a future grandchild may happily run up and down those steep steps to get things for grandma, but until then, who is going to refill my wine glass or bring me snacks?

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