This graceful stone manor is discreetly tucked into a Saratoga enclave. The owners wanted landscaping that matched the beauty of the surrounding area but were mindful that the hillside setting could cause problems.
The designers at Koch & Associates understand that landscaping on a slope leaves little margin for error. This project called for drainage and grading designed and installed with precision.
It's a given that California landscapes today should be drought-tolerant. Our use of artificial grass is one of the ways we create beautiful tableaus that don't require constant watering.
A small, green natural grass area was desired. Even in drought conditions with proper plant selection and watering systems grass can be green, rich and healthy for a beautiful front lawn.
Dressed in fieldstone, the home is reminiscent of a medieval Spanish castle. The entry, with its second-story arched window and wrought iron balcony, is particularly dramatic.
The owners wanted landscaping worthy of their sophisticated home. Plantings in both the front and back of the residence had to be colorful, native, and look as natural as possible.
We had two seemingly contradictory goals to achieve: Spaces had to be large enough for entertaining large groups of people while retaining an impression of intimacy.
That called for paying strict attention to traffic patterns and organizing the limited space as efficiently as possible.
Accommodating the owners' request that the backyard be usable all hours of the day meant building a sizable covered area that provided shade. The columns replicate the architecture of the home, as does the stone that lines the spa patio.
Beneath the covered area is a small outdoor kitchen and seating for guests to eat or lounge with a cold drink. Additional seating for sun-lovers is near the spa.
Because the backyard is relatively compact and multi-level, the owners wanted a pool that was big enough for parties but didn't overwhelm. We think it's a perfect spot to have a dip and enjoy the tree-filled view.
This perspective, with its glimpse of faraway hilltops, has to be one of our favorites. Although neighbors are nearby, walls of trees make the area seem tranquil and very private.
Although most of the project work in the backyard involved hardscaping, the feeling remains of being in the middle of a garden, or forest. Stone surfaces are all around but don't dominate.
Infinity pools are often built to give the impression of merging into a body of water. Even though this pool is miles from the ocean, the idea works well here because of the hillside locale.
Areas with lots of nooks and crannies pose challenges to the designer. At Koch & Associates, we consider it an exciting opportunity to vary a landscape in creative ways.
The plan was to transform an unused corner slope into a visual resting place. Installing a water feature is an ideal way to take advantage of sloping terrain. As the focus, the man-made waterfall appears utterly organic. This is a favorite spot to linger and listen to the easy flow of water.
Rocks of varying sizes, from boulders to pebbles, frame the water feature and give stability to the slope. Ferns, water lilies, and several types of easy-to-care-for grasses fill out the space.
Around the pool, a variety of potted plants are positioned to complement, and not compete with, the gorgeous backdrop of conifers. A range of plantings, such as palms and begonias, keeps the scene interesting year around.
The stone patio that surrounds the spa and pool is roomy, to accommodate large gatherings. Our intention was to make a space that flows so well, guests won't even notice the backyard is on three levels.
Iron rails and fences are a preferred way to turn into a necessary feature into an accent that unifies a space. They're sturdy and durable yet airy, allowing for views of stunning settings such as this one.
The owners of this incredible property, and their guests, are every bit as delighted as we are at how this front and backyard renovation project turned out.