A California Garden by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architects

A Mirror Image of Its Environment a California Garden that Blends with Nature 01


A garden that reflects the natural elements in which it is set — that’s this Back-Bay retreat by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architects. As the architect explains, “The project draws on the curved shapes of the bay-line and estuary that can be seen winding away from the property’s edge. These gentle sweeps were then drawn into the hardscape walls and walkways.” You can see these shapes in the beautiful curved paths that seem to be one with the hills around them. Even the concrete bench was designed with a smooth finish, imitating gleaming bay waters in the afternoon sun; likewise, the colors of paving stone echo of the colors of the sand. Finally, Mexican pebbles, as they flow between the flagstones, bring to mind the color of the “fingers” of water that drain into the bay.


Smith says, “By incorporating these connections back to the site, this landscape has a sense of belonging and gives a spirit of place, or genius loci.” The spirit of place carries through to the plantings: juncus, pickle weed, and yarrow were cultivated to harmonize with the natural environment, along with coyote brush, restios, and artemsias, side-by-side with many non-native grasses. Now, guests amble along to secluded benches where they can relax and admire the bay; when the ocean breezes blow cool, fire bowls and fire pits help provide warmth so that the outdoor area is welcoming any time of year. And, as with most veteran gardeners, these owners like to keep things fresh and new: as the architect concludes, “The owners love adding new art and creativity.”













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Written by Janet Butler

Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).

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