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03-01-21 | Feature

It's All About Drama and Color

Surfview Residence
by Terry Design Inc

With a shared fondness of succulents, the homeowners of this Pacific Palisades home in California and the Terry Design Landscape Architecture firm worked together to take one small design request for the front entry of the home and transform the entire 20,501 sq. ft. lot. A custom-built fountain at the front entry is made of orange and yellow toned glass sculptures from Seattle, with a glass tile gradation that extends from behind the water feature to the front door. Tile in a custom circular swirl pattern imitates water on the raised fountain basin. Can lights were installed in the wood ceiling above which matches an existing wood screen on the side of the front door.
The vision for the surrounding landscape of this home was to remove the existing lawn, replacing the cool season grasses which require a significant amount of water, with low water plants like this golden barrel cactus and other succulents and California natives.
A raised overflow basin is set 4" above the outside fountain perimeter with a channel of water 2" below the outer edge.
An existing barbecue area was modified with a new poured-in-place concrete countertop colored to match the pool coping. Several shades of blue panels installed on an aluminum structure sit over the barbecue island with dimmable sconces mounted to each post. An LED strip light under the countertop overhang downlights blue panels on the front vertical face of the island. A matching dining area patio cover gives protection from the sun while adding privacy from uphill neighbors. To block the view of the lower neighbor's roof while keeping the view to the ocean open, a fence matching the existing Ipe wood fence was installed at eye height while sitting.
An existing barbecue area was modified with a new poured-in-place concrete countertop colored to match the pool coping. Several shades of blue panels installed on an aluminum structure sit over the barbecue island with dimmable sconces mounted to each post. An LED strip light under the countertop overhang downlights blue panels on the front vertical face of the island. A matching dining area patio cover gives protection from the sun while adding privacy from uphill neighbors. To block the view of the lower neighbor's roof while keeping the view to the ocean open, a fence matching the existing Ipe wood fence was installed at eye height while sitting.
Designing and building the barbecue and dining patio shade structures was a complex process and each panel required precision cutting. The multicolored, polycarbonate resin panels were built onsite, fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fabricated in a shop and welded onsite, the aluminum frames include multiple beams and posts to which panels are suspended from.
Designing and building the barbecue and dining patio shade structures was a complex process and each panel required precision cutting. The multicolored, polycarbonate resin panels were built onsite, fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fabricated in a shop and welded onsite, the aluminum frames include multiple beams and posts to which panels are suspended from.
Large plantings of Blue Bola Select Agave (left) and Variegated Furcraea (right) add structure to the landscape while Aloe chabaudii 'Orange Burst' adds color.
An automatic, sliding vehicular gate made of frosted tempered glass panels provides privacy for the residence while the aluminum frame, painted to appear as brushed stainless steel, matches the house and rear yard patio structures.
By sawcutting the existing curved pool edges to better complement the architectural lines of the home and create more usable space, an area for entertaining, cooking and dining was achieved. After surveying the site, it was realized the client owned the land to the top of the hillside, so by extending the property fence the planting area increased substantially. The desire for drama and color for the front entry was extended throughout the residence by plantings of varying color and texture that would change with the seasons.
An oasis of succulents and native plants creates drama throughout the property and along the hillside. The existing concrete patio was sawcut to create planters and a low retaining wall of rusted steel set in concrete footing was placed on the hill for specimen succulents.
An oasis of succulents and native plants creates drama throughout the property and along the hillside. The existing concrete patio was sawcut to create planters and a low retaining wall of rusted steel set in concrete footing was placed on the hill for specimen succulents.

When landscape architecture firm Terry Design was brought on to this residential project in Pacific Palisades, California, the homeowners had one small design request: Create drama and color at the front entry. With initial plans to modify an existing fountain in the front of the home, after walking around the residence and bonding with the owner over a shared love of succulents, the project scope grew. Primarily residing in Florida, with its planting limitations due to the wet climate, the homeowner was delighted to remove all the lawn and replace it with succulents and California natives.

The new project scope included providing strategic shade structures for cooking and dining, recapturing a large section of the hillside and incorporating it into the overall design, providing privacy and security with an automatic gate, and making subtle changes to the hardscape to blend it with the mid-century modern architecture of the house.

The site is wedged in on a cut/fill lot with high visibility from uphill neighbors and downslope to rooftops below with a peek-a-boo view of the ocean from its foothill location. Allowing the Landscape Architects to think creatively and proceed with the design and implementation in a linear fashion with minimal redesign made this project special. The clients made their desires and preferences known up front and the design team used that as guiding principles throughout the entire project.

In the front entry of the home, a perimeter overflow fountain was installed that is bold in color and form, but subtle in sound. The design team proposed the idea to include blown glass sculptures even before the owner expressed a love of blown glass and Chihuly glass sculptures, resulting in an immediate feeling that the team "understood" the client. The team was then tasked with finding a glassblowing studio willing to take on the design, and the research and trials necessary. Working closely with Seattle Glassblowing, the colors and shapes for the five custom glass flame sculptures were developed. The entire entry alcove is covered in a gradation of glass tile to create a sense of expanded space and intrigue from the street. The freeform glass sculptures in complementary orange and yellow tones are uplit and downlit at night with can lights installed in the wood ceiling above and LED dimmable lights below the water. The elevated platform where the sculptures are placed is covered with a custom swirl pattern tile meant to mimic water eddies, and water movement is created by a stainless steel standpipe set behind the concrete platform.

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The property's driveway and entryway were preserved but the client requested an automatic front entry gate. With the driveway grade being a steep cross-slope, the homeowner had been unable to find a gate installer to design a vehicular gate for the severe access road. Working with their installer, the team was able to add a 20-foot wide, automatic, sliding gate with a side pedestrian gate in frosted panels for privacy.

In the back yard, a A 1/4 " thick Corten steel retaining wall on the hill creates a level area for planting sculptural Dasyliron and Agave with uplighting, and adds structure to the hill, tying it in with the rectilinear design elements below. Custom designed shade structures were created to cover a modified, existing barbecue area and all new dining patio. Polycarbonate resin panels in three colors were cut in sizes for maximum usage of each panel and installed on the powder coated aluminum frame. By extending the existing retaining wall and capturing a previously unused area, the clients can now dine outdoors under cover by the pool. The dining patio cover panels are double sided so the view looking up is of a multi-blue hued modern composition, but the shade cast by the panels does not discolor the food. Matching the patio cover heights to the soffit heights of the house, gives the appearance they were built at the same time. The existing concrete patio and curved pool were sawcut to create straight edges, and concrete pads reinforced with poured-in-place concrete were added.

Planting compositions emphasizing texture, color, and sinuous swaths of groundcover change from season to season and are planted throughout the hillside. It was discovered the homeowner owned the land to the top of the slope, allowing the property line fence to be extended and the entire hillside to be used. Aloes, Muhlenbergia capillaris, Salvia clevelandii, and Arctotis are juxtaposed against sculptural Agave ovatifolia, Agave 'Nova', Euphorbia ingens, and a large Aloe bainsii. The garden uses substantially less water due to the removal of all cool season lawn and the use of low and very low water use plants such as succulents, California natives, and Mediterranean climate plants. All irrigation has been converted to drip, and the use of gravel and groundcover joints in the hardscape creates areas
for infiltration.

The completed project showcases an understanding of the clients' desires and the surrounding landscape, and thoughtful detail to the existing architecture. One small design request transformed this entire property into an artful display of drama and color.

Team List
1. Rob and Alison Terry, Terry Design, Inc. (Design & Project Managers)
2. Jimmy Reed, Rock Solid Tile (Entry wall and Fountain Tile)
3. Dave Penton, Fluid Dynamics Pool and Spa (Fountain structure and mech/elec.)
4. Dana White, Clark and White Landscape (Planting, Lighting, Drainage and Irrigation)
5. Patricia Cevallos, Pacific Succulents (Pot planting & maintenance)
6. Joe Conti, Macon Concrete (Wall extension, concrete pads, bbq countertop)
7. Brandon Hudson, Hudson Design/Build (Aluminum & 3Form patio covers)
8. Devin Veditz, Republic Fence (Ipe fence and Corten retaining wall)
9. Herb Englehardt, The Dorland Company (Front vehicular gate)
10. Seattle Glassblowing (Glass sculptures in water feature)

As seen in LASN magazine, February 2021.

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