Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Contemporary Admidst the Chaos

While most of the East Bay is awash in Arts and Crafts style homes, more contemporary spots peek through the dark wood shingles and redwood lintels that dominate our area.  This '60s style home needed a garden to match its architecture.  Out go the roses, boxwoods and Japanese Maples (poor things- Japanese Maples in a West-facing garden seems so cruel).  The chaos of the existing garden becomes clean and exciting- spots of red dominate in summer with ribbons of ZauschneriaMimulus aurantiacus and California Poppies Maritima form lift their orange faces to the Spring sunshine.  Calamagrostis foliosa and Senecio mandraliscae (String Bean Succulent) provide an evergreen (and everblue, respectively) background.  

In keeping with my current fascination on the theme of "clashing colors are beautiful colors," Verbena lilacina flowers happily alongside the reds of Summer and oranges of Spring, giving off its light scent year-round.  Hummingbirds are gonna flip out over all the new choices they'll have, while skippers can sip the Verbena's nectar and drop their eggs over the grasses.

 photo taken from shelterrific.com

It's not always about the plants, however.  The traditional bread-loaf shaped mailbox gets switched out for a sleeker version.  I found this local designer's mailbox and love the simple yet functional shape.

Another colorful, low water garden to better match the surrounding landscape, its visitors and most importantly, its owners.


  1. I hope the poor Japanese Maples can find new homes. I agree, a west-facing exposure is nothing short of torture for those trees. I'll be curious to see how the Verbena fits in when it's all a-bloom. As for that mailbox...wow. My tastes lean heavily toward Arts & Crafts, but my 'backup' ideal would be something simple and modern, and that's very sleek. Nice find!

  2. Nice designs and a very nice mailbox! When we did a little work on the house 3 years back it was a challenge to come up with a nice contemporary style mailbox that didn't look like it belonged in an apartment complex or have to be shipped from Germany.