Often, homeowners design their properties to reflect some aspect of themselves in order to increase the comfort and ‘hominess’ of their house and signal to guests what they value. Aspirations, hobbies, and interests are all incorporated in the interior and exterior designs of the property to best confer the owner’s personality and help them tell the story of who they are through visual cues.
For this Del Mar property owner, the love of Hawai’i was first on their mind when they set out to restyle their home and bring just a small taste of island living to their mainlander home. To bring this tropical island flavor to the sandy shores of southern California, they hired the Torrey Pines Landscape Company to design and implement a full makeover of their backyard.
The grounds gently transition into a grassy hill that separates the property from the waterfront, this created a perfect opportunity for a visual focal point. Ripping out an old outdoor kitchen area, the crew installed a cascading waterfall made of piled flagstones set into the hill, bordered by a raised bench and a new bed for a variety of tropical plants that climbs with the slope.
The bench utilizes a combination of natural rock flagstone and sand-finished concrete, which the crew incorporated into a new walkway to connect the different features of the new garden. This use of stone is an essential part of the tropical aesthetic with the inclusion of a border fence of natural boulders being used to separate the usable outdoor living space from the new beds.
A tropical backyard is incomplete without a spot to eat outside and enjoy the weather, so the crew created a new outdoor kitchen island utilizing lapidus granite with a leather finish for the countertop and sand-finished concrete for the structure. The island includes all-new stainless-steel appliances, including a four-burner barbeque inset into the structure, minifridge, and storage space.
As one ventures further out into the garden, the view is dominated by new beds of tropical flora bordering all sides of the property, grading upwards from short-broadleaf shrubs to taller palm fronds to ensure a little extra privacy for those enjoying the backyard. The inclusion of new standing oil torches and hammock allows for a comfortable and atmospheric summer night cozying up and gazing at the stars.
The crew finished out the job with the installation of something completely new to the garden – a raised stone platform at the border of the hill’s escarpment that housed a custom spa and fire pit, two items a backyard getaway can’t do without. Built using the same natural flagstone and concrete incorporated into the rest of the garden's new hardscape, the structure is situated next to the hidden steps that lead you up and over the hill and towards the sea, creating a secretive escape from the tropics to the Southern California beach.
Once the work was complete, a step into the new garden was like being transported a thousand miles southwest to the secluded islands of Hawai’i. The only thing missing was the ukulele music playing and someone passing out a lei when walking through the door, but the happy homeowner will take care of that for his guests!
Awards for this Project
2019 CLCA AWARD – DESIGN & BUILD CONTSTRUCTION MEDIUM FIRST PLACE WINNER
2019 CLCA AWARD – WATER FEATURE FIRST PLACE
2019 CLCA AWARD – LANDSCAPE LIGHTING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD