Dry lakes are places in the desert where drainage stops, and goes no further. Landscape dead-ends, they attract activities drawn to nowheres. Many dry lakes have no name, marked on maps only as alkali flat, salt flat, sink, mudflat, wash, or playa (if at all).
Go native, stay modern! In this free presentation by Madrono president Geoffrey Coffey, we will learn that native plants are wildlife friendly, drought-tolerant, and locally appropriate — not to mention beautiful. Learn how you can weave color, texture, and aroma into the garden using the natural flora that lived here long before we did.
CaliforniaFIRST, the government-supported PACE financing program for sustainable energy projects, is now available to property owners in San Francisco. Eligible landscape improvements include drip irrigation, low-voltage LED lighting, solar panels, greywater systems, and stormwater capture and reuse programs, a particular specialty of Madroño Landscape Design Studio.
The award for Best Overall Design in the Small Spaces Living section of the 2013 San Francisco Home & Garden Show was given to Madroño Landscape Design Studio and Bay Natives nursery for "Pacific Rim Fusion," an exhibit of California native landscaping with Japanese inflection.
California Assembly Bill 1750 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown today to enact the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012, a significant new measure clarifying that the use of rainwater captured from rooftops does not require a water right permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
Contemporary Design Meets
Sept. 21, 2011 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
California Academy of Sciences
May 14, 2011 from 2-3 p.m.
250 Visitacion Ave.
Brisbane, CA 94005
Consider the case of this San Francisco backyard: a sheer slope on the southeast face of Mount Davidson, where a concrete drainage trench carries winter's seasonal river and then runs dry for summer and fall. The trench cuts off houses from their gardens and limits human access to the yards uphill. At this particular house, the existing deck was built out to the edge of the trench, with no means of getting across.
Question: How to deal with this ugly yet necessary piece of engineering?
Answer: Add another level of deck to bridge the gap. Set the platform at an angle to diverge from the rectangular facade of the house, and to suggest triangular shapes in the landscape. Cantilever all four edges 24" over the beams, thus hiding the posts so the deck appears to float above the ground.
This deck, with bench and arbor, is both a place to inhabit and to pass through. We cut a path in switchbacks up the slope from the point of contact with the platform, removed all french broom, fennel, and ivy from the hill, and replanted with native pinegrass, junegrass, and needlegrass; a field of silver lupine and scattered Ceanothus to attract butterflies, especially the fabled Mission Blue; elderberries and manzanitas for bird-friendly flowers and berries; and more.
The marriage of living plants and cold steel ranks among the most enjoyable elements of practicing landscape design in the San Francisco Bay Area.
SCENARIO: Single-family residence on steep 2-acre property in Los Altos Hills, California. The lovely and level back patio was marred by the slope immediately above it: ugly bare dirt, too steep for traditional planting, and eroding at the base of the house's diagonal support beams. The situation called for a bold stroke of design creativity.
QUESTION: How to turn this liability -- a barren and degraded slope -- into a lush and attractive asset?