Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vista Garden

Vista Garden was the second property I visited last Saturday as part of Marin County Open Garden Day sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano3

The description in the official program sounded fantastic:

Sited on a plateau with sweeping views of Mt. Tamalpais and surrounding canyons, Vista Garden is a balance of engaging outdoor rooms and dramatic sub-tropical plantings. The entry features a heritage oak and unique use of Arbutus marina as privacy screening. A grove of Australian tree ferns and specimen agaves suggest something more eccentric is ahead. The front garden is framed by native quercus and specimen olive trees that sit within a modern framework of bold, textural sweeps of foliage including asplenium, miscanthus, liriope, equisetum, and a ‘meadow mix’ of sun-loving perennials and exotics. The hidden sitting area is tucked behind a prehistoric equisetum hedge and showcases an agave collection that leads guests to the Vista Walk.  This quiet, shady, path lined with bambusa and variegated phormiums opens up to the Vista Terrace, revealing a stunning view of Mt. Tam framed by timber bamboos on the slope below. The Vista Terrace features a collection of succulents and cacti under specimen olive and palm trees. The bamboo-lined pool walk leads to the pool deck that enjoys an overstory of oaks, maples, and palms with a unique selection of cacti and succulents that wrap around the multi-level garden terraces and custom Cor-Ten steel containers.

Tree ferns! Agaves! Bamboo! Palm trees! And more Cor-Ten!

Let’s take a leisurely stroll through front yard and then sneak around the side of the house into the backyard to explore the lovely sights waiting there.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_151

View from the driveway. The house is single story and partially hidden behind vegetation. I loved how understated it looked.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_02

Agave ‘Blue Flame’ at entrance

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_150

Bamboo hedge along the side of the garage; the walkway leads to the pool

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_01

Same view

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_08

View of what is technically the front yard, now an enclosed private space

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_12

Majestic Agave americana as the centerpiece of the lawn area

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_14

View of front door

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_139

Agave americana with lavender in the background

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_16

Yucca rostrata next to front door

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_18

Yucca rostrata and tree ferns

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_29

Alternate view of the front of the house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_40

Tree ferns underplanted with foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii')

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_138

Water feature diagonally across from front door

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_15

I love the elegant simplicity of this water feature

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_25

View from the side

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_41

Another view of the water feature; notice the horsetail rush (Equisetum hyemale) hedge on the left

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_42

Hidden patio behind the the equisetum hedge. Equisetum hyemale is considered to be very invasive but here is was perfectly groomed. I wonder how much maintenance is required to keep it looking so good?

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano1

Patio shielded by the equisetum hedge

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano7

Alternate view

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_30

The same furniture is used in the backyard and poolside. It is actually made of plastic or resin even though it looks like metal.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_32

Agave collection in a raised bed along the perimeter of the property

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_37

What a great place to relax, have a drink or read a book!

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_31

Agave attenuata next to Equisetum hyemale hedge

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_38

View of front of the house from behind the equisetum hedge

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_136

One last look before we walk around the side of the house into the backyard. The mass planting of foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii') was a wonderful surprise, creating an almost prehistoric effect.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_44

Another Equisetum hyemale hedge against the house and, on the other side of the narrow walkway, a row of large phormiums, adding another touch of lushness.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_46

Large agave at the far end of the walkway

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_45

Glimpse of the backyard through three palm trees

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_126

Succulents along the backyard side of the house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_47

Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) and black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’). Black mondo grass is also used as filler in other planting beds.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano8

Seating area and fire feature in the backyard

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_49

Alternate view

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano6

View of seating area with Mount Tamalpais on the left. The vistas were breathtaking, extending seamlessly from the backyard across the canyon.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano5

One of several specimen olive trees

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_52

Agaves, aeoniums and sago palms in the foreground, bamboo in the background

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_111

Bamboo growing on the hillside below the house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_65

Bambusa oldhamii up against the house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_74

Poolside furniture

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_108

Potted agave on the pool deck (Agave multifilifera?)

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_110

View of pool deck and pool house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano4

View across the pool to the main house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_101

The pool house would make a great office or guest quarters!

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_97

Plantings next to the pool house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_98

Succulents above the retaining wall

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_95

Potted sago palm (Cycas revoluta) underplanted with colorful coleus

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_103

Planting against the main house

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_102

Walkway from the pool to the driveway. This is the same bamboo hedge you saw at the top of this post.

130601_VistaGarden_5X-XZZC_pano1b

Tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica) along the driveway

If you read my post on Cor-Ten Zen, the other property I visited on Saturday, you know how much I liked it. The plantings were refined without being fussy and the overall effect was grand but not grandiose.

Vista Garden was even more spectacular as far as I was concerned. I loved the more intimate scale of the house (which was still plenty big) and the landscape design ticked all my boxes—almost as if I had sat down with the designer and told him what I wanted. Truly, a dream property!

RELATED POSTS:

13 comments:

  1. Have to fly you out Gerhard to design our garden!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enjoy your photos and point of view on this one. I concur completely about the understated look of the house, it really spoke to the integrity of the site and the view.Why intrude on that with ostentation? To me , the whole place was a gallery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Integrity is the perfect word. Everything about the landscape design an architecture made sense to me.

      Delete
  3. What an incredible home and garden. And your tour of spectacular photos made me feel like I was there. Did you try to make off with that rostrata! Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rostrata pot was so massive, I couldn't even budge it. I'd love to have a large specimen like that.

      Delete
  4. That huge Agave on the lawn is gorgeous! I clicked on the picture to embiggen it, and couldn't help noticing the photographer in the window. Is that you? I loved everything about this garden, except maybe the furniture. It doesn't look comfy. But everything else, wow! Thanks for taking us along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have eagle eyes. Yes, that's me in the window :-).

      The furniture was actually quite comfortable. I sat down on it briefly to see how soft it was.

      Delete
  5. This property is sumptuous, and stylish! Very well designed and I like the way they used the same style of furniture all throughout as a unifying feature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the look of the furniture. It would be very difficult to keep it dust-free but it sure looks nice.

      Delete
  6. Really nice, although I kept thinking "shouldn't there be more plantings for shade?" Those seating areas were full exposure. Always love a good Equisetum planting. Oh, and I'd never get any work done if that pool house held my office. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the seating areas were in the full sun but that was at 10 in the morning. In the afternoon there should be more shade because of the way the property is situated.

      As for the pool house, I know what you mean. But if you could afford that property, you might not have to work anyway so the "office" would be just for surfing the web and for your collection of gardening books :-).

      Delete
  7. Is that potted rosette a yucca of some sort? The fibrous margins look very yucca-ish to me...

    ReplyDelete