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In the Bay Area, we’re very fortunate to have amazing weather year round coupled with beautiful surrounding nature as inspiration, allowing for the perfect ingredients to create resort-like landscapes in our very own backyards. At SFLA, we love to help our clients through our unique design process in order to help turn their landscape dreams into a reality.

A successful landscape project like this one in Orinda starts with the client’s property, a dream and a wish list. The end result is a brand new outdoor retreat where natural beauty and comfortable functionality are combined both stylishly and effectively. When all the design pieces on the wish list come together, the result is magic.

Spoiler Alert: To jump to the end and see the culmination of a recent project in moving detail….

It Starts with a Wish List

In the spring of 2019, this client hired us to totally transform the landscape for a recently constructed Orinda home on a large site adjacent to an open space with native oaks and hiking trails.

The clients desired their new landscape to reflect their style as well as have a spirit of fun and whimsy for their young daughters and extended family and friends. On their wish list was; a custom pool/spa with ample surrounding lounge space, a large outdoor kitchen, a fire pit and surrounding patio, a zen-like water feature, plant privacy screening along the side of the house, a play area and fairy garden for their daughters, drought tolerant plants with seasonal colors and textures, and outdoor lighting.

The Design Process Begins

Every project begins with a thorough site analysis to conduct a detailed site measure and inventory of existing site conditions.   Next, site research is performed in order to understand the requirements and restrictions from the HOA, city and county.  Our design team is then ready to begin the creative design process. The design team works to create a conceptual plan to present to the client containing all of the elements on the wish list in a creative way with spaces that naturally flow and sized for best use – that is the goal of the conceptual phase of the design.    

This stage of visualizing the possibilities is exciting for us and for our clients – collecting the clients’ ideas and images, sketching out various options, playing with the shapes, fitting the puzzle pieces together in order to create a new design solution for the clients so they can begin to visualize their landscape potential.

Developing a Concept into Final Plans

With feedback from this client, we then began developing the design, giving it substance and form, fine-tuning ideas, collecting images of materials to choose from, and ultimately creating hardscape, planting and lighting plans to present these final plans to our clients. The final construction plans also include an irrigation plan and the construction details that a contractor would need to ensure the landscape project will be built accurately to bring the design to life.

The End Result is Magic

Once plans are complete and contractor selected, the end result of this exciting process is a luxurious landscape that invites both fun and relaxation, privacy and spaces to entertain, and fits beautifully into the natural surroundings.

A flagstone path invites guests through boulders and California native perennials and grasses either to the front entry or to the side gate into the backyard. Horizontal fencing and gate stylishly provides privacy and security.

The backyard landscape offers a whole range of experiences with carefully designed paths of different textures creating an organic flow from one area to another.

We designed a lawn and fairy garden for the girls and dog, and raised vegetable beds for gardening and even a chicken coop.

A large outdoor kitchen island clad with stone veneer is frequently used for cooking, storage, cooling drinks and serving, which makes entertaining enjoyable for hosts and guests alike.

The custom pool with built in spa and sheer descent wall and clad with stacked stone veneer is a beautiful oasis, providing a compelling focal point as well as a place to play and relax.

The side patio off of the family room has a fire bowl with both comfy chairs and swinging chairs invites the family out in the evening to share a glass of wine or a mug of hot chocolate – depending on one’s palate.

The modern recirculating water feature backed by a Parasoleil metal screen creates a soothing sound and meditative mood in the private patio off the master bedroom.

What is Your Dream Landscape?

You, too, can have the landscape you’ve always dreamed about! With our creative team of designers at SFLA, we’re ready to help you visualize and realize your own unique outdoor oasis. Create your own place to make lasting memories with family and friends for years to come.

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Kalich - Boulder fountain, Japanese maple tree, native planting, stamped concrete

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We invite you to email us today whether you’re ready to get started, curious about the process or have general landscape questions.

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