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Musician’s Garden

This garden was designed for a musician and his family near the beach in Santa Monica. They are very active with two small children, so we responded with a garden design that has a rugged sensibility to it. Nothing too precious or delicate here.

We developed a ‘beach meadow’ consisting of a rich medley of grasses and shrubs that originate from Australia, Chile, South Africa, and the Mediterranean – places where the climate is similar to that of Santa Monica. These plants require little water and minimal maintenance. The plants in the meadow have been arranged so that something is always in bloom with pops of color throughout the garden. Within the meadow we placed a curving path made of stone dust that has a tactile, informal quality that we appreciate. The path meanders through ancient olive trees, perfect for climbing.

We collaborated with Oonagh Ryan Architects to develop a strong inside-outside relationship between the house and garden. The living spaces open up directly onto the garden through a series of sliding panels. A big lawn for playing and entertaining utilizes an efficient eco-mat irrigation system that delivers water directly to the root zone. A colorful planting palette flanks a meandering path that links vegetable gardens, fruit trees and an outdoor dining areas within the side yard. We created a serene grotto adjacent to the music studio with locally quarried boulders that recalls the natural streams found in nearby canyons. Three roof terraces are planted with native beach grasses that catch the wind and move throughout the day. These terraces are viewed from within the house and contribute to the overall tranquility of the design.

photos © Undine Prohl and © Eric Staudenmeier