Fountain under the Acacia
Originally, when these clients looked out the glass doors of their lovely living room they saw an aged lawn, the trunk and lower branches of a sickly ornamental pear tree, and a picket fence against a very tall, very white wall of their neighbor’s house. Not so pleasing. They probably kept the blinds closed most of the time!
So, they wanted something nice to gaze upon, and thought they might like a fountain, and this is what I gave them. This picture was taken about a year after the garden was planted and it has all matured nicely together. I planted a bamboo hedge up to the fountain, and not very visible in this image is a clump of Papyrus directly behind it. The Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ on the left side of the fountain is filling in quickly, as they do, and is on it’s way to shielding the offending white wall. Around the sides there are Chondropetalum tectorum (Cape Rush) and Iris, and to finish it off, clumps of Sempervivens right in the front. The only part I’m not totally pleased with is that the water plants aren’t doing what I want them to. Yet.
This is one of my most favorite jobs I’ve done so far. (top 3!) Not in small part because the clients were so great to work with, but also because I was able to completely wipe the slate clean and be as creative as I wanted to be!
This was a fun garden to create. My client wanted almost zero involvement in his garden. The only thing he was interested in (beside not having to do anything) was that the garden look interesting and tidy. For this design I started with the style of the house. You can see from one of the images below that the house is very boxy with a flat roof. Sort of mid-century style, but built in the early 80’s so not nearly as cool as, say, an Eichler design. Needless to say, (but I will anyway!) an English cottage garden or a traditional, formal garden would be very out of place here. I ran the idea of a mostly succulent garden with boulders and gravel by him and he said go for it. So here’s what I came up with:
Really Heavy Rocks
These rocks were a royal pain to “place”. They ended up being 2x as heavy (& expensive) as they were estimated to be. The four guys I hired to move them the 6-8′ from the sidewalk to where they are now were amazing and never got discouraged, though I was ready to cry after about an hour! I was seriously ready to hire a crane to place them, but the guys kept moving them, inch by inch, and after FOUR hours they got it done. They didn’t even act like they wanted to kill me when I said things like, “Could you move that one two inches to the left with a quarter twist?”
Front Garden View
Here’s a more complete view of the front. The boulders in the first image are to the left, just out of the shot. In addition to the low Agaves, etc., I introduced some vertical lines to the design with Equisetum, Papyrus and Phormium. The client wanted a fountain, and thought maybe he wanted an Italianite, classical style piece, but was very pleased with the natural stone fountain (see center of image) we created for him. I didn’t know if I would like this garden when I started it- I’m more drawn to soft or symmetrical forms- but this ended up being one of my favorite gardens so far!