A 1973 Ranch house in the San Francisco area wants a new front and back yard--maximizing ease of care, native plantings, and curb appeal.
There are four components of this project that we want addressed in each submission - the hardscape (i.e. pathways around house in front and back yards including driveway/backyard fence, and deck), the softscape (i.e. plants, trees, grass areas), lighting (i.e. front and backyard landscape lighting), and the home's exterior facade.
Our intent is tackle the four components in phases. The budget is as follows and intended to cover materials only as labor rates vary dramatically in California
Landscape - 2K-5K
Hardscape - 3K-6K
Lighting - 1K-3K
Facade - 5K-10K
B) Existing Conditions:
This is an L-shaped ranch house on a corner lot. The lot is about 1/2 acre. The green areas including bushes are watered via and irrigation/drip system. The front door faces east while the garage doors face south. The front landscape slopes toward the house on both the eastern and southern facing sides. The backyard is enclosed by fence and completely level except near the house where the concrete patio has been gently sloped to force water toward a drain located in the corner of the house
The house was recently purchased and we feel the yards have little-to-no character and the facade has no curb appeal. Additionally, because of persistent drought issues in California we need to severely reduce the water needs of the lawn.
D.) Front Yard Guidance
In the front of the house there are two things we don't like - the crepe myrtle and height and random shape of the plants around the house - we feel they overwhelm the house itself.
We like the other trees in the front yard. We want each submission to include a combination of drought tolerant plants native to northern California and loose gravel or stone landscaping in their designs. From a style standpoint, we prefer designs that are clean and simplistic. We are not looking to create a botanical garden.
Please see the included idea book that we have saved on Houzz.com for ideas we like.
There are two considerations to keep in mind with regards to the house itself. We would prefer the façade be converted to all brick or stucco versus the mix of brick and wood that it is today. Feel free to change the look of the tall, narrow rectangular windows at the corners of the house as we do not like them (all other windows can be changed to match if needed). Lastly, in the architect’s remodeled drawings the window near the crepe myrtle to the right of the garage has been converted to a French door. Please include some sort of exterior patio in your submission.
E.) Backyard Guidance
We have three kids under 10 years of age so the backyard is where we spend a lot of time. As it is now, our key dislike is the style and amount of concrete patio. We intend to remodel the home to open up access to backyard through a series of large sliding doors (see the included the architects drawing of the remodeled house). One concept that appeals to us have a deck to walk directly out on to create a seamless transition from inside to outside. We are worried about safety in terms of kids running in to the edges of the deck. Please give that consideration. Also, please do not include the addition of a play structure (ie Slide, Jungle gym, etc), That might be a little young for all but our little at this point and take up too much space.
Additional thoughts are that we would like to keep a couple of raised beds for vegetable gardening as well as add a simple water feature like the oil jar at elegantearth.com (Product # FT621). We want to keep the lawn in the backyard as the kids play soccer and football on it. We were thinking about expanding the backyard by pushing the fence out such that it comes in front of the tree on the left side of the garage. It would allow for an additional seating area in the backyard.
Finally, we would appreciate thought given to what gets planted along the perimeter of the fence. Again, make sure to think drought tolerant and feel free to use stone, gravel in the design.
F.) About the Owners:
The owners do not need a "super manicured" look though we like simplistic, natural design. We want to stay away from designs with every color in the rainbow as they feel too busy for us. Green plants and bushes that are of different shapes, sizes and heights and may or may not bloom are good to us. And we appreciate stone and gravel to add structure and clean lines.
We are outdoor people who want a yard that is great for relaxing in the shade but has enough open space for kids to run and play. We are not avid gardeners, but are happy to do regular pruning and maintenance, but do not want a high-maintenance garden/yard (<15 hours of maintenance work per month in the summer).
G.) Success Criteria
Successful designs will be within budget, incorporate native plants, make creative use of the space, include plans that are ready to execute, improve the curb appeal of the house and not exceed the 20K-25K for the all phases (note: you can reallocate money amongst the buckets)
The priorities are 1) curb appeal, 2) installation costs, and 3) minimal ongoing maintenance.