Posted by Julia Shuart ⋅ 02/08/2013
My Manhattan Beach project is a great example of a blank slate, or so I thought. In one of my earlier posts, I talked about this ‘tabula rasa… almost’ condition because, besides a massive Ficus tree in front, the site is totally bare. Originally, my clients were going to sell a sizable strip of land (which is an awkward concrete “bench”) to their neighbors because it seemed misfit for their garden. It would have added about 200 square feet of land to the neighbors’ yard, but, months later, after finalizing designs without this land, they decided to keep property and I was very happy to hear it. Large gardens are hard to come by in Manhattan Beach and we all agreed that it was very much worth keeping what they own. I headed back to the drawing board and was challenged with designing this new strip of garden in a way that worked with the current design. What I came up with utilizes this concrete “bench” feature (which is such a bizarre element that none of us can figure out) as a base for a large, outdoor couch centered on a built-up planter wall. The planter sits on the edge of a bocce ball court that doubles as a secondary path from the grill area. It will be built up enough to provide the necessary depth for groupings of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Marjorie Channon’ and, of course, drainage. I am excited about the outdoor couch feature and feel good about how it makes use of the existing space. I am going to have a Sunbrella cushion made for the couch and think it will be a great place to enjoy the sunniest spot in the garden, to watch family and friends play bocce and to watch kids play on the lawn. Bordering the bocce ball court will be a row of Lavandula with a small opening for access to the large lawn area. The couple’s young boys will surely enjoy playing in their new garden and I cannot wait to break ground in less than 2 weeks!
Below is a photo of the existing space.
Landscaping solutions from Julia Shuart Design | Los Angeles