Project Spotlight: Total Property Makeover In Encinitas

Landscape Design and Construction Project Spotlight: Total Property Makeover In Encinitas

The rise in the popularity of home improvement entertainment over the past decade has renewed the public’s interest in home beautification and developing a taste for specific styles in architecture and design. Decades past may have seen many cookie-cutter designs left the way they were, but Americans are beginning to appreciate architecture and design styles from all over the world and incorporate them into their own properties.

This was the case for one Encinitas homeowner whose interior was constructed to reflect their preference for contemporary, transitional, organic-modern design styles. One problem remained, however: while their interior matched their aesthetic, their outdoor space left much to be desired.

The front and backyard spaces were typical suburban fare: concrete paths surrounded by sparsely populated beds and river rock mulch. The landscape was well-maintained and neat, but it clashed harshly with the homeowner’s aesthetic sensibilities and desperately needed an update to match up to the new interior.

The unique mix of styles would require a delicate touch to translate into a practical and stylish landscape. Torrey Pines Landscape Company, no stranger to creating cohesive designs out of disparate landscaping styles, was the best fit for the job.

The Challenge

The homeowner had three primary goals for the landscape redesign:

  1. A practical redesign of the entry to direct visitors and deliveries to the correct location with elegant landscaping.
  2. A pool for family fun and entertaining guests.
  3. A complete aesthetic overhaul for the property’s outdoor areas.

Due to the awkward design of the home’s exterior, guests and delivery drivers were consistently trying to use a side door rather than the proper front door. The redesign would need to help redirect traffic to the correct entryway while making it appear as welcoming as possible. 

For the backyard, the large, mostly empty planting bed that dominated the space would transform into a more useful and enjoyable pool area. The lawn area would need to be shrunk to accommodate an expanded hardscape whose clean artifice would contribute to the overall contemporary aesthetic redesign of the space while leaving plenty of room for practical usage.

The Radical Redesign

As the parameters of the redesign were laid out, the Torrey Pines design team went to work planning how to revitalize the property’s outdoor space. The design would have three primary areas of focus: the driveway and entry, the pool area, and the expanded hardscape area. 

The Front Entry

The entryway’s redesign would be relatively simple and focus primarily on restructuring the planters and adding select hardscape features that would complement the overall design aesthetic. With the right mix of plantings and demarcating structures, the hope was to create a more readily apparent and welcoming path towards the front door.

Despite the maintenance and care put into them, the planters lining the driveway had a poorly optimized mix of flora. As an effect of this, the planter appeared disorderly and random as opposed to the owner’s sleek and intentional design preferences.

The Torrey Pines crew stripped the planters down to the foundation and amended the soil to help accelerate the growth of new plantings. Rather than shrubbery, the planters would now be dominated by a line of olive trees that would grow into a welcoming canopy of shade for family and visitors. A coyote bush ground cover and accent agaves filled the understory to provide visual variety in the bed, while flowering westringia shrubs lined the top of the slope to create a visual barrier between one property and another.

In order to help steer the eye toward the home’s entryway, the Torrey Pines team settled on constructing short, board-form walls. These walls served a dual purpose – practically, they would help direct the eye towards the correct path to enter the property. The eye starts with the address monument at the end of the drive, then it leads the eye toward the accent seat wall near the front entry. The use of similar plants in these areas also draws the eye to connect the points. The weathered steel also contributed to the overall contemporary aesthetic of the property, creating sleek, textured lines that blended artifice with natural materials.

The Pool Area

Before the project went underway, a significant portion of the backyard was taken up by a large, unusable track of rock-filled planters. Determined to get some use out of that space, the homeowner wanted to transform it into a fully equipped pool area for her and her family to use during the warmer months.

The primary challenge came from the downhill grade of the property as it extended down a rolling hillside. The pool’s structure needed to extend beyond the existing grade as the earth sloped down to level with the rest of the usable space in the yard.

To accomplish this, Mission Pools engineered a load bearing pool wall structure that would stabilize the pool and help retain the hillside’s structure. The pool materials were selected by the homeowner to be neutral and sleek with white glazed waterline tile, French gray pebble plaster, and concrete coping; all installed by Mission Pools. 

Expanded Patio, Seating, And Lawn Area

The usable backyard space consisted of equal parts a lawn area and a patio made up of builder-grade pavers. Connecting the usable area to the back door and side entrance were a series of sand-colored concrete steppers and a solid concrete path, surrounded by beds of grey river rock.

To help modernize the space, the lawn area would need to be sized down and reshaped in order to make room for an extended hardscape seating area. At the same time, the patio would be ripped out entirely in favor of natural grey concrete accompanied by a newly constructed pergola that is attached to the house to provide additional shade during the day.

The new seating area, off the ellipse shaped lawn, was tiled with tumbled bluestone, and furnished with a prefabricated fire feature for the colder nighttime temperatures. Behind this patio, is a chest-high screening wall to hide the pool equipment. This wall was veneered with tumbled southern buff limestone and provides a contemporary look and is visually dynamic in the yard.

To further enhance the contemporary feel of the space, the concrete path leading to the side entrance would be replaced by a crushed rock gravel walkway for a more organic feel. The river rock planters were similarly removed and replaced with micro bark mulch that helps retain moisture and provides nutrients to the plants as it breaks down into the soil. With new plantings of flowering native flora and shrubbery to balance the clean lines provided by the hardscape, installed, it helps to soften the space. 

A builder-grade, large block retaining wall was necessary to retain the hillside, however it did not fit the aesthetic and the homeowner wanted something more visually appealing from the views inside. This wall was hidden with trellises adorned with lush jasmine vines in custom wood planters and prefab planters containing a startling variety of native and imported flora.

With all three of the objectives met, the project was finally completed. The unique blend of design styles was extended to the homeowner’s outdoor space thanks to the creative use of shapes and linework by the Torrey Pines crew, and the homeowner now had nearly full access to the outdoor space.

If you have a property whose outdoor aesthetic clashes with your sensibilities and is in desperate need of a full-scale makeover, get in contact with Torrey Pines Landscape Company today.