Exterior Photos

With the landscape work completed just before Halloween, we decided we should get some pro photos before all the trees lose their leaves. Unfortunately, we were not able to complete all the landscaping due to lack of plants at the end of the season.  Once the beds are complete and grow out a bit more, we will take some additional shots.

We hired Michael Deleon, professional photographer extraordinaire, for this task. For the above shot he arrived before the sun came up!

Interior shots coming soon...

Urban Gardening

We made a trip up to the greenhouse over the weekend to get some veggies, herbs, and flowers for the kids to plant in the new rolling planters we received from FoodMap Design. These planters are made from recycled milk jugs. Totally cool that we can roll them around for water and sun.

Steel Trellis & Swing

Gerry Wallace and his crew came over for a full all day push to install the simple steel frame over our back patio today.  We've had this in the works since early on in the design process, as the west facing walls of our house take on brutal amounts of solar gain during the summer months.  Instead of huge overhangs or individual shading devices for each opening, we decided that a nice seasonal shading device would be more appropriate.

Our large sliding door openings are low-e and have triple pane glass, however, glare is still a problem, so instead of lowering the indoor blinds, we can have this nice canopy covering the entire patio space.

During the winter months we can take down the solar fabric and get the direct sunlight when we need it (or want it).

The swing frame attaches to the garage and provides a nice spot for the kids to play - they refer to the area as their hideout.

Landscape Details

Bob and his crew have nearly finished the landscape.  Everything has come together very nicely so far.  The one unfortunate item is the lack of availability of some plant materials this late in the season, so we'll have to wait until next spring for the remainder.

The StepStone pavers went in nicely, and the fine granite rock that R-Design specified for the beds blends nicely with the rest of our exterior colors and textures. 

The guys at No Hassle Fence put on a nice horizontal fence that has a very understated but subtle design to it - we just alternated 1x6 and 1x4 rough sawn cedar to give it a bit of character and stained it a solid silver gray.

Next up is the steel trellis over the back patio and the steel frame for the kid's swing, and we are done!!

Plants Arrive

All of our trees and plants arrived yesterday on one truck.  It looked like a nursery around here for a while!  Since we could not find any Buckthorn for the tall "screening" trees in the back, we substituted Hornbeam which R-Design suggested as a good alternative.  Tomorrow the plants should start going in... 

Stepstone Pavers


It felt like xmas time again last Friday - new presents arrived on a big truck!  We got beautiful pre-cast concrete pavers from Stepstone for our landscape edging.  R-Design suggested these as part of the landscape design scheme, and we are happy to have found such well crafted quality planks.  Concrete always looks so good when it’s formed in a controlled environment.  In the field it’s always kind of a crap-shoot to be honest.

This edging will go around beds and at the edge of grass areas.  We also plan to make a little hardscape area out of them for a spot for the kids to play on.

If the weather holds out, we should finally see some plant materials being installed mid-week!

Landscape has begun!


It’s taken us a few months, but we now have found a good landscaper with an acceptable bid.  Bob of RES and his crew started on Thursday with cleaning the site and tilling/mixing the soil.  Today they are working on the sprinkler install. 

For cost reasons we’ve eliminated a few items from the original design, but feel that we will still be achieving a similar feel with the overall result.  The steel trellis/solar shade at the rear patio is also being fabricated as we speak. 

Before the landscape is finished it would also be good to get the fence in.  We’ve got a look we are happy with, now it’s just getting it all started and installed in the optimal sequence.


Benjamin’s crew has been working on site grading and building forms for the last few days, and yesterday, the colored concrete was poured for the patios and walks.  Finishing this part of the project really ties the house to the site and highlights the indoor/outdoor feel at the sliding doors.  We went with a medium warm grey for the integral color on the concrete.  The photo above shows the wet concrete.  However, after some curing for a couple days, it’s settling into a medium gray. 

For some privacy, we are doing a small garden wall at the front patio.  This will be done as a separate pour.  The city sidewalk and garage apron (sloped ramp) will be a third pour done next week.

Check out the saw cut pattern that was added a day after the pour in the photo sequence above.

3D Landscape Review


Since we have so much of our project already modeled in 3D, it was nice to build a few of Ransom’s landscape ideas into our model and test them out for scale and composition.  As we talked about earlier, it really comes down to vetting ideas as much as possible in 3D, building a real world mockup as often as possible, and only then setting the crews loose on a particular part of the project.

        It’s a luxury that not every project can afford, but since it’s only time and energy for us, we want to make sure it is right from the start (then not complain or make revisions as it’s getting built).

Landscape Design


Ransom of R-Design put together a great presentation for the landscape.His initial ideas seem to follow what we are looking for:  A simple modern plan that will be easy to maintain and incorporate playful areas for the kids. The outdoor spaces we are working with are so small that fitting everything in can be a challenge (while at the same time striving to keep it simple).  We have also  been checking out some of the species Ransom is recommending to get a better feel of how they would fit into the outdoor “rooms” within our site.