Silke Fernald’s listing is featured in Sunset Magazine.
When landscape designer Sarita Jaccard first laid eyes on the front- and backyard at a couple’s home in Los Angeles, she saw an area that was unused and neglected. “There was a lot of broken brick and half-dead grass,” Jaccard says. “Those two items were the bulk of the entire property.”
The only thing salvageable was the orange tree in the front yard, which stood like a testament to life in an otherwise barren area. The clients, meanwhile, knew what they wanted: a kid-friendly garden that would help them enjoy their view of the Mount Washington hills beyond, preferably with drought-tolerant plants.
But Jaccard went above and beyond their expectations: “I’d like to think I took their needs and carried them out in a less conventional way—maybe a way they hadn’t thought of before,” she says.
First, she had the house painted black so it would be the perfect backdrop both in front and out back. The view, meanwhile, was her inspiration for the entire backyard layout—each zone is oriented toward it. “Everything is meant to lead your eye there, while still having pockets for other moments along the way,” Jaccard says.
It’s precisely these moments that make the garden special. Immediately outside the home, a redwood deck ties together the dining area—which has furniture custom-made by Blue Pocket Studio—with an outdoor living room sitting opposite.
More zones can be found in the yard itself. Meant to be explored by children, a swing set is set off to one side, while native plants form little pockets they can explore. Jaccard says it took some convincing to get the couple to forgo a lawn, but she persevered in the end. “Kids can fully enjoy playing between plants on decomposed granite or gravel,” she says.
“It’s nice when a family is able to see beyond a grass play area for their kids, and instead envision a place where their child can actually explore, find flowers and bugs, and be more in touch with nature.”
Native plants and cactuses punctuate the garden with pops of color and texture, as the deck extends in a “follow the yellow brick road” kind of way past a fire pit toward that cedar tub. “The walkway is meant to feel purposeful and direct, leading the visitor’s eye (and therefore the self) to a viewpoint,” says Jaccard.
There’s a clever optical illusion at play here; the cedar tub is sunken, so it appears to have an infinity edge, therefore acting as a reflecting pool for a nearby oak tree. It’s the perfect place to take in a California sunset.
“The view at this property is just so special, we wanted to create an area where one could retreat and appreciate it,” Jaccard says.