A Modern Pool Landscape in Wine Country

Construction is well underway at the main residence of Templeton Ridge Winery and Burbank Vineyards. I am really pleased with how dramatic the view is out into the surrounding hills from every vantage point.

I know linearity can be a tough sell for many when it comes to landscape and garden design. I love a meandering path and a lush bramble as much as the next person, but it's hard to beat a strong line when it comes to leading your eye out to the greater landscape.

At Home with Third Nature Studio

The small apartment that I share with my daughter and hubby was recently featured in the San Francisco Examiner. Stephanie Stillman, a fellow landscape designer, has been writing a series of At Home articles exploring how designers and artists arrange their home spaces. We were honored to be included, and it was a refreshing challenge to try and put my design philosophy into words and relate it to interior spaces.

Liebermann Treet House in Marin

This is the California that lived in my imagination before I moved here. A Radial (and radical), tree house complex tucked away in the redwoods, built by a serious architect but feeling like a daydream. Daniel J. Liebermann designed and built the house in 1958 for his family. The New York Times recently featured the house in their On Location section, describing the recent purchase and remodel of this amazing place, where the new owners had the magnificent luck of working with the original architect on their renovations. Now they just need some of my help with that slope and patio!

A Sunny Patio in the Vineyard

While construction continues at the main residence of Templeton Ridge Winery and Burbank Vineyards, the plantings at the agricultural manager's residence have established themselves nicely. This portion of the project was meant to be a modest yet homey residential garden to echo the style of the larger main residence. The sunny concrete patio is anchored by a large oak and is surrounded by drought tolerant grasses and lavender. The simplicity of the space compliments rather than competes with the rolling hills and vineyards beyond.

Manka's Inverness Lodge

I just returned from a beautiful wedding reception at Manka's Inverness Lodge on Tomales Bay. The reception was at the Boat House, a beautiful, weathered building on the water with a long pier and amazing views of the bay and surrounding hills. I'm a big fan of Manka's, having had our own wedding dinner in the old lodge before it burned down. I was really impressed with the simple plantings and furnishings on the boat house deck: Mexican Feathergrass, Juncus and Miscanthus were a lovely counterpoint to the grey weathered wood and chartreuse lichen that covered the exterior walls.

Marin Mid Century Modern

I've just started working on another great mid century modern ranch project. It's located in San Rafael, just a few blocks from Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin Center. The backyard features an existing pool set at an angle, and I'm proposing adding a long clean concrete planter wall parallel to the pool edge, simplifying and solidifying the plant palette, and screening the mismatched fences along each property line.

For much of the year its a hot, sunny spot, so we're cutting back on the amount of lawn, and adding a long shade awning to the back of the house over a new deck.

Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens

The Smithsonian Institution has recently uploaded a set of glass lantern slides from the 1920's and 1930's of American Gardens in its Flickr photostream. The photos are primarily of estates in their heyday and feature works by Gertrude Jekyll, Jens Jensen and Fletcher Steele. For more information about the Archives of American Gardens, visit the Smithsonian's Gardens and Horticulture Services website. I like to imagine myself sipping a cold drink in one of these oases...

Diego Rivera in San Francisco

I recently discovered the Diego Rivera Pan American Unity mural at the Ocean campus of City College of San Francisco. I live and work in the Mission, a neighborhood filled with mural art, but seeing work by Rivera reminded me that his work is something else altogether. Despite my own passion for politics, I usually gravitate towards the apolitical in art. After all, once things get too political don't they turn from art into propaganda? But Rivera is an exception. Amazing composition, energy and color.

Little did I know, but he has four mural projects in the Bay Area: Pan American Unity at City College, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City at the San Francisco Art Institute, The Allegory of California at the City Club of San Francisco, and Still Life and Blossoming Almond Trees at Stern Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus.

Water Lamb Outdoor Collection for DWR

Design Within Reach has always been a great source for modern outdoor furniture. It can be an investment, but the impact of strong, unified furnishings does wonders for an outdoor space. I was pleased to see they have newly released a Walter Lamb collection, an iconic furniture line from the 1940's originally made from salvaged copper. In the right context, this collection could really be fantastic. Or if that doesn't suit and the early modern/midcentury feel is what you're after, there's always the classic Case Study House Terrace Collection and Bertoia.

Raised Bed Entry Courtyard

Here is my latest study for the Puget Sound residence on Southworth Drive. I have been working on the entry to the house which is tucked out of sight of the entry drive and in need of some definition. My thinking was to add evergreen boxwood and herbs to the existing raised beds to create a more formal year round appearance. The clients can continue to plant and experiment with annuals, vegetables and other herbs within the evergreen frames.

The property has vast amounts of lawn, and while the Northwest climate can keep it lush without much supplemental watering, I have replaced the lawn between the raised beds with gravel. This courtyard is the sunniest spot on the property, and a little more hardscape will help define the space and create the feeling of a warm courtyard on cool days.

The house is inspired by Norwegian farmhouses, with custom railings and eve details. Unfortunately, the heavy gingerbread railings on the decks and balconies obscure the phenomenal Puget Sound views. I propose to replace the railing with a more modern metal post and wire mesh, keeping in harmony with a farmhouse aesthetic while opening up vistas to the water.

Proposed entry courtyard

Proposed entry courtyard

Existing entry courtyard

Existing entry courtyard

ASLA 2010 Award Winners

The American Society of Landscape Architects has announced its 2010 Award winners. I tend to gravitate towards the residential projects...

I loved the clever geometry of Scott Lewis' Parkside Garden and the tiny green pavilion tucked away in the back corner of the garden. Green walls can really be overdone and done poorly, yet that little pavilion looks as though it sprouted, beautifully proportioned, from the garden (as opposed to having a tray of succulents hastily nailed to it).

Rumsey Farber's North Sea Residence also impressed me. It's a distinctly modern residence, yet it looks completely in harmony with the surrounding wetland landscape. Nice to see such softness and warmth come out of such crisp clean lines

San Francisco Urban Forest Map

Friends of the Urban Forest, the City of San FranciscoCalFIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), and local San Francisco businesses have teamed up to create an interactive map of our urban forest. Users can update street tree information, add and identify new trees, read calculations of each tree's environmental benefits, or search for locations of a particular species within the city. Map data can be used in GIS, so street tree information can be layered with other data sets to provide richer maps of our neighborhoods for designers, engineers, and planners.

San Francisco is the first city to create an Urban Forest Map. Not only will it be a dynamic source of tree data, it will also be an inspiring and informative tool for the community. Makes me want to get out there and plant more trees! Browseadd information, or become a fan to encourage other cities to do the same.

Gravel and Gold: New & Vintage in the Mission

Have you ever walked into a store & just wanted to move in? It's been there nearly a year now, but I have somehow missed Gravel & Gold on 21st & Lexington, right off of Valencia. They have local honey, Swedish clogs, 70's design books, great clothes, and they host some impressive art shows, pickling workshops and neighborhood parties. The woman in there was also incredibly friendly, offering me tea and a window seat. I wanted to buy everything! I managed to escape only with a Sunset book on hot tubs and saunas from 1979. I plan to return...

Congratulations SANAA!

Happy to see that SANAA won the Pritzker Prize this year. Of their projects, I've only experienced the New Museum first hand, but I thorougly enjoyed it, and love the contrast of its meshy white skin to the neighborhood that surrounds it. Something tells me they like the looks of that contrast too. Photographs of their residential projects show crisp architecture accented with hodge podge antique chairs and leggy houseplants in mismatched pots. Their work makes modest little messes look so good.

Photos below are from a visit to the New Museum in August '08. Sam, Laurel, Greg & I contemplate the meshiness.

Travel Diary: India

This morning I was looking through pictures from our travels in India. I’ve included some of the highlights above, and more can be seen at http://www.gregandrandi.com/jaihind/, and the blog we kept can be found at http://www.gregandrandi.blogspot.com/. I think one of the most lasting memories from that trip was the death defying rickshaw riding we did. It is truly no exaggeration to say rickshaws in India feel like roller coaster carts gone completely off their rails, zig zagging between cars, trucks, busses, camels moving loads of rebar, 3 people balancing on one little scooter, elephants, goats, monkeys, cows… all that chaos mixed with the peace that comes with the most beautiful food, sweet sweet people, and haunting, timeless landscapes.

A Garden Memory

I don't remember this actually, but its little experiences like this that make me love working on residential projects. This photo is from my grandparents' house in the mid 70's, and I had the good fortune that day to take a nap in the hammock with my mom, with both of my grandmothers sitting close by. Seeing this photo, and thinking about the life with my new daughter that lies ahead of me, makes me realize how sacred even the tiniest of garden spaces can be.

Ah Spring...

I saw some great garden swings at Flora Grubb this past weekend (see photo bottom left). The sun was shining, and I was reminded how spring brings with it a boatload of optimism. I wonder why I don't see more swings and hammocks in residential gardens? I can't think of a nicer way to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon. Even the traditional, padded glider couch has its charms. I can remember taking some lovely naps on one as a child on my grandparents' deck.