Using plants for dramatic contrasts

bahia(SF Bay Area)April 10, 2011

One of the design strategies I enjoy using in San Francisco Bay Area gardens, just because we can with our climate, is illustrated by this photo. As we have a climate that is both Mediterranean, yet influenced by a cold ocean current that gives us cooling summer fogs and higher humidity, we can really mix up plantings to represent a range of climatic preferences. When I first started redesigning this garden full of some very mature accent plants, the tone had already been set by the previous plant choices, and I decided to play it up even further.

The entry off the street is classic Mediterranean with lots of bold succulents; Agave americana, Yuccas, and Strelitzia reginae. Colorful green flowering Crotalaria capensis, the Canary Bird flower frames this shot as well. Looking down upon the entry from the street, it reverts to lush shaded plantings of mature Cyathea cooperi, Cordyline australis, smaller tree ferns added as understory using Blechnum gibbum and Dicksonia squarrosa, and lots of colorful Neoregelia hybrid bromeliads and Impatiens for the near perpetual shade.

I love the contrast between the hot and dry at the street and the lush and tropical looking at the house below, and think that both suit the architecture of the house, making it look like a Hollywood stage set. Probably not a look that appeals to everyone, but on all the various garden tours I've lead for this garden, it is hard to get people to actually leave. The best complement comes from the owners, who say living here in like being on vacation year round...

Here's a link to the photo, plenty more in this same set:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bahia(SF Bay Area)

I see that many here won't look if they have to work a bit...

Here is a link that might be useful: Glimpse of entry from the street

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 11:15AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Landscaping ideas - Need help with suggestions of plants please
We would like to seek help in filling our concrete...
Plantings for Driveway/Walkway Design
We would like to pave the driveway. (I hope I am in...
Help for shade
I need some advice . I have recently moved into a house...
Chris Cousineau
Help! My new front yard is UGLY! Any ideas appreciated!
Do I keep the stone flower bed edge? I was told it...
New construction landscaping
I am looking for any suggestions for low maintenance...
Sponsored Products
Amalia Satin Nickel LED Bath Bar with Polished Platinum Plaid Glass
$540.00 | Bellacor
Irwin Flatweave Rug 5'6" x 7'5" - SPA
$439.00 | Horchow
Hampton Bay Ceiling Fans Lonestar 52 in. Aged Copper and White Rock Ceiling Fan
Home Depot
Campania International Cast Stone Pebble Garden Terrace Outdoor Fountain - FT-16
$169.99 | Hayneedle
Cambridge Chrome 25-inch Backless Counter Swivel Stool with Black Vinyl Cushion
Purple Fleur Comforter Set
$59.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™