Project Description

A young and growing, eco-conscious family  contacted Simmonds and Associates to provide a makeover, suitable for the landscape of this San Mateo home which had not been tended to for several years.

The front lawn ran from the house to the curb, and the landscape offered no sense of arrival, or transition from public to private space.  We reduced the size of the lawn by approximately 60 percent.  Simultaneously, we choreographed a sense of entrance.  From the sidewalk, the old brick path leads through a thick planting of drought resistant plants to an opening in a low wall.  The wall is made of wire cages, which are filled with soil held in place by natural burlap fabric, and planted with succulents.  Upon entering through the wall, the landscape opens up and contains a small lawn forecourt that acknowledges the formality of the house.   Two tall planters,  with topiary boxwood offer a counterpoint to the more natural plantings and another “gateway”.

A side opening in the wall leads to bluestone stepping stones that wander around to the side of the house to the driveway.  Across the driveway is a fenced back yard.  The back yard has an enclosed lawn for the children, a raised vegetable garden and features a very large redwood tree.  The redwood serves as a transition point to the bluestone back patio, which is  wrapped with a well-scaled cedar bench encircling a fire pit.

The rich but drought resistant plantings attract a wealth of  bird life, butterflies and beneficial insects to the garden.

Contractor:  Cagwin and Dorward Landscapes

Ecological Attributes

  • “smart” controller adjusts irrigation times based on weather
  • drip irrigation
  • permeable paving
  •  recycled and re-purposed materials
  • green wall
  • natural gas fire pit
  • low water use plant selection
  • lawn area reduced from previous landscape by 40%
  • planting to attract beneficial birds, butterflies and insects
  • planting for habitat
  • edible fruits, berries and plants
  • LED lighting