Project Gallery

October 5 / Park Estates

Homeowners wanted to focus their remodeling efforts on landscaping, allowing it several years to mature, before beginning the interior remodel. Utilizing October 5’s design/build process, they discussed adding more privacy, water conservation, a focus on native plantings and, if possible, a small fruit orchard.

The resulting front yard design highlights native and drought tolerant plantings. California natives such as Arctostaphylos (Manzanita) Howard Mc Minn and Emerald Carpet, Yarrow, San Miguel Island Buckwheat, and California Blue-Eyed Grass served the basic theme of low-watering native plantings. Massing of succulents such as Sempervivum tectorumas, aka, chicks and hens added a sense of structure and formality to the entry pathway. Several Mesquite trees provide scale and rhythm while Bismarckia nobilis palm serves as the focal point (click on pictures to enlarge.)

Frequently, people ask about the landscape design. For example, early one evening, the homeowners notice people milling around the front yard. Upon asking the group its purpose, a Long Beach City College Horticulture instructor stepped forward and stated that this was a field trip to test the students’ knowledge of California native plantings. The front yard sprinkler system is turned off and on annually in October and May/June, respectively, depending on the amount of winter rains.

One of the features influencing the homeowner’s decision to purchase the property was a beautiful Canary Island Date Palm (phoenix canariensis) in the back yard. Other than a mature Queen Palm, Bird of Paradise and overgrown Oleander, the yard was pretty much neglected. Moderate-water to drought tolerant palms were added for structure, including Senegal Date Palm (phoenix reclinata), Date Palm (phoenix dactylifera), Pygmy Date Palm, King Palm, Kentia Palm and a specimen Shaving Brush Palm (rhopalostylis sapida), which requires just average watering.

The rear-yard design includes drought tolerant plantings, and a decomposed granite pathway that allows storm water absorption rather than run-off. Drought tolerant plantings include California Pepper trees, Wisteria vines, black bamboo (for privacy), Mexican Grass trees (dasylirion longissimum), triangle palms, dwarf variegated agaves, cycads and clipped Boxwood hedges, which line the meandering pathways adding a sense of formality to the garden.

See the before and after photos here >>








The house was built in 1953 and has not experienced any modifications from its original construction. The homeowners are convinced that the house will eventually experience a major renovation with the back of the house being extended approximately 10 feet. A no-planting consideration was given to this area, which currently provides a fun space for container vegetable gardening with tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers and eggplant. A temporary decomposed granite pathway connects the rear-yard to the side-yard orchard, which includes two varieties of plums, peach, nectarine, a 4-in-one apple, figs, pomegranate, persimmon, lime and orange trees. The landscape has become such an important component of the house that the homeowners spend much of the free time outdoors relaxing, dining and entertaining friends, weather permitting of course!