Project Description

This garden, on a half-acre lot in San Anselmo, California, is an eclectic mix of formal and contemporary, while staying true to its Colonial heritage. The front garden reflects the formal presence of the Colonial-style house to the street. The entry paving is flagstone stepping stones that allow the lawn to be continuous while acknowledging the formal axis. The backyard is designed for family entertainment. The swimming pool, centered in the backyard, commands the visual focus. It is balanced to the north by a modest lawn, bordered with a perennial and edible garden that includes many vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and artichokes, while raised vegetable beds are located to the south of the pool. Also to the south, a larger lawn is used for croquet, badminton, volleyball, and numerous garden parties. The outdoor dining and lounging patios around the swimming pool have been asymmetrically aligned to take advantage of both the sun and the existing large shade trees on the property, and are screened from the house by lush planting beds of tropical plants and colorful perennials. A fire pit, swing, and hammock complete the family-oriented amenities of the property.

The Lloyd Flanders wicker patio furniture gives a nod to the Colonial style of the house. The planting is a mix of perennial borders and simple massed ground cover with lots of interesting specimens. A traditional fountain is accented by blue-painted bamboo poles to add color to a shady vista, and a very large pot forms a lily pond in a sunny corner, visible from the family room.

Construction: Millsap Degnan & Associates; owner.

Ecological Attributes

      • “smart” controller adjusts irrigation times based on weather
      • drip irrigation
      • stormwater retention, runoff & erosion control
      • recycled and re-purposed materials
      • permeable paving
      • solar pool heating
      • low water use plants
      • solar heat gain reduction
      • edible fruits, berries and plants, vegetable garden
      • planting to attract beneficial birds, butterflies and insects
      • planting for habitat
      • LED lighting
      • defensible space and fuel reduction strategies
      • recycling waste construction materials
      • recycling organic waste