eichler landscaping

front yard landscaping

August 20, 2015

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It’s finally done!

Our landscaping project construction wrapped up a number of weeks ago, and we’re down to a few final tweaks in the backyard.  I thought I’d do this partial reveal to kick things off, so you can see how things have turned out.

Here it is:

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We worked with Boxleaf Design and Gonzalez Brothers Landscape to make this happen.  (Both really great people to work with, by the way!)  The hardscape was completely re-done and the lawn replaced by some very low-water plants.  The planting is in a few bands that run across the front of the house, separated by metal edging and the cinder block retaining wall.

The first layer is blue oat grass planted in a grid, which should fill in to create more of a carpet as they grow.  Behind the grass, we have these fierce ‘Blue Glow’ agaves:

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New concrete was poured in place to create the walkway, in the spirit of the original Eichler concrete pads.  The cinder block wall is lit up at night, so the agaves are silhouetted against it, and we have some sleek pathway lighting.  (Making a note to myself to take some photos in the evening too– it’s quite pretty.)

The final row of plants under the overhang includes Agave attenuata and Chondropetalum grass, which echoes the feel of the horsetail which is still going strong in our car port.

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Behind the retaining wall, we have a section of mixed grasses and agaves:  Agave parryi, blue fescue (Festuca glauca), more blue oat grass, and a LOT of feather grass.  I can’t wait for all of this to fill out and go crazy.

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We kept our Mediterranean Fan Palm (of course, we love it, even if it may be in need of a haircut):

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More agaves and succulents are planted behind it, by the gate to the backyard.

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The fence along the side yard is cedar, stained to protect it and bring out the wood grain a bit more.  Somehow I don’t have decent pictures from the street, but this should give you an idea:

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We’re planning to add some trees in the park strip (to the right of the sidewalk in this picture), since it’s feeling a bit bare (and hot) now with the ivy fence gone.  We’ll wait until the winter rain before we do that, so I have some time to think of what to put there.  We’re toying with the idea of continuing our back neighbour’s row of pink crepe myrtles, but it might be too much pink for us.

I’m also totally in love with the look of Chinese elms lately, which you can see beyond the house.  We have some gorgeous old ones on the street behind us.  Any suggestions out there?

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I’ll share more as soon as I have everything pulled together in the backyard!  Furniture and a few small items still need to arrive before I can call it done.


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  • Reply Brooke August 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    The landscaping looks amazing! The concrete block wall really looks like it’s been there from the start. I’ll look forward to seeing the rest of the reveal! Great job!

    • Reply Karolina August 25, 2015 at 4:46 am

      Thanks Brooke! I was actually quite nervous about such a big change, but it came together really well and I’m loving it now. The rest of the reveal should be up soon–just as soon as I sort through all the pictures I took of the backyard. Stay tuned. 🙂

  • Reply *rnm August 20, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    the block wall is really nice — it creates a sense of depth and dimension in an otherwise shallow front yard. nice work.

    • Reply Karolina August 25, 2015 at 5:08 am

      Thanks! We love how that wall turned out. And I have yet to back into it with my car… though I’m probably jinxing myself now. Oops.

  • Reply Andy August 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Wow, just gorgeous. Love the cinder-block, the metal edging, the concrete, the choice of plants…so, pretty much everything. And it’s just gonna get better as it matures. Look forward to seeing the back, and taking a closer look in-person…

    • Reply Karolina August 25, 2015 at 4:50 am

      Thank you, Andy! I can’t wait for everything to grow and am trying to be patient, though I did put in two extra plants already in the backyard. Perhaps I need to channel my energies toward the atrium instead– it’s currently a parking lot of homeless plants (including our huge agaves!)

      • Reply Andy August 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        Patience isn’t our specialty either! Stop watching and they’ll grow in no time. Ah yes, I remember those large variegated agaves. We have two smaller specimens (currently in large planters) that need long-term homes. Do you have plans on where they’ll go? One other thing I meant to mention –we LOVE your palm to the right, but I don’t believe it’s a Queen Palm. It looks more like a Mediterranean Fan Palm. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

        • Reply Karolina August 27, 2015 at 5:29 am

          Oops, thanks for the note about the palm! Not sure where we picked up that it was a Queen Palm… maybe from the previous owners. I have no idea what to do with those agaves, and I don’t want to mess with the current planting too much. Maybe if the dracenas end up not liking their new home in the front yard, we can put them there. And then we will finally become the Crazy Agave House, as David always predicted. 😀

  • Reply Michelle August 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Wow, it looks incredible!! Love the stones, love the concrete pads, love the landscaping. All in keeping with the look of a traditional Eichler. So well done! Is that some blue chalk sticks I see as well? We planted a ton in the back and boy is it hardy! I remember when we first had everything planted and how tiny everything looked. I was so impatient for everything to grow as well. That palm is to die for BTW. Can’t wait to see what you have done with the backyard!

    • Reply Karolina August 25, 2015 at 4:57 am

      Hi Michelle! Ah, thank you so much! Yep, we have plenty of blue chalk sticks (Senecio, I believe they’re called?) Can’t wait for them to spread. Thanks for the palm tree love too– it seems to have weathered the construction really well. Fingers crossed it’s happy for years to come! 🙂

  • Reply *RNM August 25, 2015 at 4:21 am

    FYI: i’m stealing all of this… 😉

    • Reply *RNM August 25, 2015 at 4:21 am

      (well… ideas and plans)

  • Reply Jennie August 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Looks amazing Karolina, which is no surprise! Love what you guys have done so far! All of it!

    • Reply Karolina August 27, 2015 at 5:38 am

      Thanks so much, Jennie! This is the most complete project we’ve ever had around here and feels great. Looking forward to having you visit sometime soon!

  • Reply Blake Nicolai August 28, 2015 at 1:39 am

    I am going to undertake a similar front and back yard remodel on my home. Where did you buy the block? is it just standard 4x6x16 grey block or is a custom color or finish (like sandblasted, etc.)?

    Turned out wonderful and your paint job looks pristine!

    • Reply Karolina August 28, 2015 at 3:57 am

      Hi Blake– Thanks! Our contractor got the blocks from Calstone. These are the stock grey, 4x6x16″ Precision CMU blocks. I’ve also seen the Ground Face CMUs used on Eichlers to very nice effect. Lots of options to customize (which gets pricey, which is why we went with the stock option). I snapped a picture of a few custom options we were looking at as well: https://instagram.com/p/1hJMzGEilI/?taken-by=kbbuchner Hope that helps!

  • Reply Martin Gonzalez August 29, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. The landscape looks quite beautiful. I can only imagine the look of your backyard!

  • Reply Farm Plan September 11, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Stunning photos. You choose a contemporary design to fit your modern house. I love it!

  • Reply backyard landscape - Dear House I Love You October 8, 2015 at 5:42 am

    […] with our front yard, we worked with Boxleaf Design and Gonzalez Brothers Landscape to completely overhaul our […]

  • Reply Kathleen March 17, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Hi Karolina, Love your yard!!! Can you tell me what size your pavers are? I am stealing some of your ideas for my Phoenix front yard.

    • Reply Karolina March 19, 2016 at 3:57 am

      Thank you, Kathleen. The pavers in the front are around 3×5′. Good luck with your project!

  • Reply Melinda August 18, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I am so glad I discovered this blog! I discovered your home while driving through your neighborhood trying to get ideas on how to give some mcm pizazz to my tired old ranch-style home. (Seems like everyone in my neighborhood tries to make their home look like a Cape Cod cottage or a Tuscan villa or a Craftsman bungalow, rather than trending toward the era when the homes were actually built. My house isn’t an Eichler, boo hoo, but there’s still potential I want to draw out.) I was surprised how many people who live in Eichlers ignore the minimalist aesthetics of mcm landscaping. I was so impressed when I saw your front yard, I got out of the car and took pictures. Love it! It still looks great a year after the project was done.

    • Reply Karolina August 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Melinda! So pleased that you like what we’ve done. I’m a fan of the other mcm homes in our area, all those cute ranches, and I find I’m quite drawn to the ones with their original (minimal) landscaping too. I would love to hear about how you style up your yard!

  • Reply TimberHawkHomeBuilders October 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Include a flowering tree. It provides brilliant curb offer and is welcoming for those couple of weeks in spring when it’s in blossom. Flowering varieties give aroma and as a rule don’t hinder the house, since they have a tendency to be littler trees.

  • Reply Erin December 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Love this!! I follow you on IG, but just noticed you have this blog. My husband and I are planning landscape design for our Denver CA style mid mod and I would like to know the source of your path lights. Also how closely are the mexican feather grass planted? Many thanks!!!

    • Reply Karolina December 27, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Erin! Thanks for stopping by– it’s been an age since I’ve updated here. I’ve got some catching up to do! The path lights the Kichler Shallow Shade lights, which come in a few sizes. We got ours through our landscape designer and they’re readily available online (just spotted them on Lamps Plus). The feather grasses are planted maybe a foot apart. They’ve filled in a lot in the past year and grow like crazy. They are also rather invasive (and spread by seed) so something to keep in mind. Ours seem to be doing OK since they’re contained by the wall to some extent. Hope that helps and good luck with your project!

  • Reply Tara February 19, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Any idea on what kind of metal edging you guys used? I haven’t been able to find anything close to as sturdy as the lines you guys have.

    • Reply Karolina March 2, 2017 at 4:41 am

      Hi Tara– the edging is Corten steel. It certainly is sturdy, and is now nicely rusted, which is a look we enjoy.

  • Reply Cristina August 14, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Karolina, I just ran into this blog and I just love how this project turned out, beautiful job! Do you mind sharing what the rock and gravel types are? Thank you for putting this blog together!

    • Reply Karolina September 1, 2022 at 2:16 am

      Hi Cristina, the gravel is regular pea gravel and the larger pebbles are ‘Lin Creek’ pebbles. Cheers!

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