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Location: Westlake Village, California
Date of Completion: mid-2019
Program: Residential landscaping
Size: 1000 SF
Cost of Work: $12,500
Located in a suburban neighborhood abutting the Santa Monica Mountains, this drought-tolerant landscaping project incorporates local plants and select sculptural elements that accentuate street presence and the seasonal spectacles of local flora and fauna, in a low-maintenance, no-irrigation planting scheme. Following the natural qualities of the transitional coastal sage scrub/California southern oak woodland environs, plant selections accommodate rocky soil and annual rainfall of fifteen inches (15″) or less. Boulders, gravel, and applications of mulch are specified to approximate eminent conditions while also maintaining an ordered aesthetic in accordance to the street-scape, presently an eccentric mix of traditional front lawn and flower bed landscaping, transitional drought-tolerant/no-grass approaches, and full-on succulents-only xeriscaping.
In deference to the compositional challenges posed by transitioning from a lawn-focused front-yard approach, and to heighten the aesthetic fluency built-in to the site structure’s outdoor-living focused mid-century design, a CorTen-steel-edged raised bed has been incorporated; this bed can be used as an outdoor patio, or remain unoccupied as a showcase for butterfly- and hummingbird-friendly local plants. The bed also provides a minimal, sculptural presence unique but not unwelcome in the aesthetic regularity of its cul-du-sac environment.
The existing sprinkler system has been retained for occasional watering during the extreme heat of the summer months, to meet the needs of dust-intolerant plant inclusions (native to the foggier coastal areas a few miles south; micro-climates in the region vary acre-by-acre), and to limit overall project costs.