Part 1 – Wu Cars Residence, California – Landscape Design

Part 1 – Wu Cars Residence, California – Landscape Design (PDF)

Part 1 – Wu Cars Residence, California – Landscape Design (JPEG)

Part 1 – Wu Cars Residence, California – Landscape Design (Full Symbol Library)

  • Louis Pereira

    John – What a delight to include a landscape design exercise. This aspect of residential design is way too often overlooked. i look forward to sharing some of my thoughts on this and hope this won’t be the last landscape design exercise.

    Due to time constraints i’ll likely submit something tomorrow…

  • Marilyn

    Just last week I had a discussion about the usage limitations on uncovered and unscreened ‘outdoor rooms’ just about anywhere in Canada. However my California grandmother used to say, “ You can plan a picnic any day from spring until autumn and know it will not be rained out!”

    So at this California house, next to the living room, and shielded from the street by decorative fencing and lush plantings, is the perfect location for a shady ‘room’ deck between the garage and the living room. The garage will block the hot western sun in late afternoon, and provide privacy from the second street. Construct the deck on level with the living room and rear entrances with sweeping stairs down to a grade-level stone patio and garden to provide a focal point for this room and further privacy plantings.

    Add a lighted cupola, attached storage or some other illuminated structure of interest to the garage (in keeping with the house exterior) to provide soft late-evening light for entertaining.

  • Louis Pereira

    ^re: the house exterior…

    i was going to assume the house has or will have a modern exterior. 1954 bungalow in all likelihood would mean a ‘ranch style’ or post-war tract house, i.e. simple non-descript appearance with a hip or gable roof…

    John – Perhaps you could clarify?…

  • John Brown

    I would assume that the exterior is a ranch style – 50’s vintage.

  • Brad W


    I noticed that responses to this exercise are few. I think the exercise is difficult and time consuming but setting that aside there are a couple of practical reasons. First, no LANDSCAPE symbol library is posted – the posted library has interior furniture and fixtures. And second, if you are using MS Paint or the equivalent it is very difficult to non-linear forms.

  • Doug Roberts

    I agree that MS Paint/Paintbrush are too rudimentary to do a decent job, particularly when it comes to a yard plan. However, I took a stab at it and here it is. Two raised terraces, one for entertaining between the living space and the garage, and a more private one off the master bedroom. I did not really know what to do with the rest of the yard, so I thought I would throw in a water feature for both visual and auditory pleasure.


  • Terri

    Well,I just used the line feature of Paint and drew freehand to indicate the plantings. I like the colours you used, Doug. Nothing that creative from me!

    I didn’t draw the furniture on the deck, as I had too many lines there already to indicate that there are louvered screening roofs and walls (similar to the examples we looked at a few weeks ago–can’t remember the project name, sorry!). I had thought that the garage wall should also be hidden by the same screening material to give a look of continuity. I’m hoping that it could be achieved without too much future maintenance trouble.

    Since I was just in California admiring the flowering vegetation, I decided to try and include the kinds of trees and shrubs I saw down there. There are some very beautiful hedges and screen plantings done with bouganvillea–very dense and colourful at this time of year.

  • Terri

    Whoops! Here’s the plan…


  • John Brown


    I appreciate the comment about the landscape plan – they can be difficult to get your head around. I think for this reason it is useful to try – even with a clumsy program like Paint. Sorry for the lack of a symbol library. One has now been posted.

  • John Brown

    Nice plan. You raise a good question about the “empty”yard beside the garage. The water feature could be a nice feature it can be expensive and high maintenance. If it isn’t something that the clients really want then I think a well proportioned lawn would also work.

  • John Brown

    Good job drawing the plan in Paint. My only comment is whether the deck from the bedroom is deep enough to be useful.


  • Terri

    The Paint feature I used wasn’t the line, as I said above, it was the pencil option. (Just to clarify for other newbies like me.)

    Yes, I did think the bedroom deck a little narrow (I thought I’d make it about five feet wide, but maybe I didn’t get that dimension drawn right). I guess I didn’t want to make it wider because it may not even get used that much. The clients like to garden, so I thought I’d give them as much garden space as possible. Also, decks can get very very hot and reflect a lot of heat into the house. It may have been better to not have one at all, but of course, with stairs involved, something besdies just a few stairs is desirable (I thought).

  • James Scott

    Not having been to Berkeley I had to remind myself that CA is a tall state, and covers quite the latitudinal range. While there are still blizzards in June in the North the south is contending with drought and wild fires.

    Average temps range from the 40′s in January to Septembers blistering hots in the 70′s…Phew! Really not that hot when you think about it. Most of the rainfall is in the winter months.

    I think it is important to understand these factors as we look at the uses the space will get. I wasn’t able to find stats on annual cloud cover. But it is quite possible that a 6′ fence or hedge and a few well placed trees may be more than adequate to shade the home from a low west sun and provide privacy from the street.

    I can see somewhat of a terrace directly in front of the home, and some border of gardens creating a separation between the terrace and the bigger yard.

    I’m going to Google Berkley gardens to see what’s out there, should be interesting.

  • Brad W

    Here is my attempt. It would benefit from additional planting detail but I focused on the space planning aspects.

    The key factor is to locate the main patio on grade. Use of stone is extensive. Planting near the house is raised. A fireplace is located in the main living area and is visible from inside the home. A water feature provides a small oasis in the middle of the main patio. A garden shed stores tools and supplies needed to maintain the garden. Lighting and outdoor audio complete the plan.


  • Terri

    Nice plan, Brad. You’ve allowed for lots of entertaining by keeping most of the patio at grade.

    James, I’m still waiting for your climatology report…I realize that I got Berkeley’s location wrong in my head, thinking it was further south. But the trees and shrubs I mentioned can survive there still.

    I asked someone who once lived in the Bay area and was told that Berkeley is a little more inland and therefore slightly more arid, and that it generally doesn’t get the fog that San Francisco gets. As for summers though…I think that 70s is not the norm, more like 80s. Also, when the thermometer says 80F the surfaces that are in the sun are much hotter.

  • Louis Pereira

    “Mother Nature is too powerful to try and mimic,” – Shane Coen Landscape Architect.

    I certainly believe in that assertion and therefore feel that in order to support the architecture, the geometries of the house should extend into the landscape.

    A large deck connects the Living Room and the garage forming an Outdoor Living Space with Pergola over. The south portion is sheltered by decidous trees to provide screening and shade relief. The outdoor fireplace is centered to the Living Room while an Outdoor Kitchen overlooks the lower Pool and Terrace.

    The circulaion corridor divides the 2 main outdoor spaces. The expanse of concrete surfacing is broken-up by grass or ground-cover striations. An outdoor Dining Room is located next to an Orange Tree Bosque to provide dappled shade in the late afternoon. The continuous deck along the house overlooks the pool and is connected to the Terrace by way of slightly submersed pads. Garden Art is centered to the pool along the north property line providing a point of interest from all other areas of the site.


  • Terri

    Well, it looks like Wu and Cars are going to live grandly in their retirement! Nice looking plan, Louis; however, I do recall they wanted to do some gardening and there’s not a lot of room left for it…

    Read up on the Berkeley gardening scene online last night and found out that lemon trees can grow there but other citrus doesn’t do so well, so maybe that beautiful orange tree bosque won’t be possible. Apparently gardening is a big deal there as the climate is Mediterranean and supports a wide range of plants.