Set in the cul-de sac of a quiet court, this Montecito neighborhood project was in need of a complete front yard makeover. The driveway was cracked all over, the walkway from the entry to the driveway was cracked and oriented along the front of the house, and the entire front landscape consisted of overgrown star jasmine and more star jasmine. It was uninteresting to look at visually, and functionally difficult to navigate.

Visitors are obliged to park in the street in front of the house, and there was no way to get from the parking area to the front door without walking over to the driveway, up the driveway, and then walking back from the driveway to the front entry. There was also no way to get from the front door around the other way to the side gate, which accesses the back yard.

We were referred to the homeowner by a mutual friend, and set up an initial consultation. She was a very sweet lady, and receptive to our ideas and suggestions. We discussed the issues, talked about her needs and wants, and proposed some solutions. Details Landscape Art is a specialist at seeing a project objectively and clinically, and visualizing the finished project. Homeowners are not always able to visualize, and in this case a design was required.

After a few iterations and changes, we were able to sketch a network of walkways connecting the front door to the driveway, to the street parking area and around to the side gate. It was also absolutely necessary to replace the severely cracked and heaved driveway, and we proposed a stamped concrete surface for all the walkways and driveway, so the color and texture flowed throughout. In the center of these three walkways we designed and built a circular medallion of flagstone over a concrete base. The multi-colored flagstone complemented the terra cotta color of the stamped concrete, but brightened the hardscape with a feature element.

Upon removing all the star jasmine, we discovered the stumps and lateral roots of two large trees that had been removed (apparently by the previous homeowner), so we called in an arborist with a stump grinder.

Once all the old tree stumps and star jasmine were cleared, we were able to plant a beautiful garden. The network of walkways divided the yard into four separate garden rooms. Each room was planted with a feature specimen: one had a ‘Red Dragon’ Japanese maple; another along the house was in the shade so we planted a large camellia. A third area near the driveway featured an upright ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple, and in the largest garden section we installed a scarlet maple called ‘October Glory’ which will be a dominant tree. The rest of the garden consisted of a tapestry of evergreen and deciduous plantings, mostly low maintenance, with lots of color in the foliage.

The finished product deviated slightly from the design – this is not unusual, since we see things as the project progresses that may work better than originally designed. But the completed garden was gorgeous and functioned so that foot traffic flowed smoothly throughout, and cars could actually reach the garage comfortably.

Another huge success for Details Landscape Art.