Marshall Residence, Portola Valley
The goal of this project was to assert a new identity for a nondescript home and outdated garden, creating a fresh, retreat-like space with some surprising details. It won a Merit Award in the Residential category from the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
The site’s patchwork of garden spaces, features (including a 300-foot-long driveway, gazebo, and pool), and complex topography required well-defined, coherent plan. Additionally, the client wanted to renovate the house, build a detached 2-car garage, create a new outdoor space for entertaining large groups, and establish a series of paths for walking the family’s two small dogs.
The landscape design was developed in phases, with each area of the property building on to the next so the whole feels like an orchestrated sequence of different experiences. The unity of the design was achieved through a consistent use of planned accents (such as weathered steel and plant groupings) and by focusing on integrating the garden’s parts within the surrounding landscape.
The modern residential landscape design emphasizes the outdoors: a green roof on the garage and large mature oaks in the front yard establish the primacy of the natural woodland environment. Even a wooden deck at the front becomes a treehouse space under the oak canopy.