Outdoor living and entertaining has never been a hotter trend–especially in Southern California where the temperate climate keeps folks in their gardens year-round.
THE DAVIS GARDEN IN HANCOCK PARK
The fairly typical turf-centric front landscape of this 1918 Italian Renaissance villa gives way to modern backyard outdoor living, playing and dining spaces completed in a 2017-18 extensive garden renovation which reflects the needs of the homeowners’ grown-up family.
The backyard is approached through the home’s original porte-cochere. Homes of this era in Hancock Park typically have their garages placed far back on the property away from street view. Don’t we all long for the times when garages were not the focal point of our home’s facade? Except for the sloped driveway in front of the home which remains concrete, the balance of the hard surfaced approach was replaced with smallish round river rock–maybe the 1″-1-1/2″ range. Unlike pea gravel or decomposed granite, I found this surface very hard to walk on and can’t imagine having to negotiate it on a daily basis. When we had finally walked the depth of this substantial home, a state of the art outdoor kitchen came into view. The original back of the lot garage was removed and replaced with a modern indoor-outdoor playroom, complete with comfy couches and an extensive entertainment system. I guess it is a testament to my point of view that I never photographed the inside of this room–you can see it was a great hit from the crowd gathered at the entrance.
The new room was all about the trellises for me. Clean-lined, modern ladder trellises were installed on both the front and pool view facades of the room.
On the pool side the rose-covered trellis provided the backdrop for a cozy seating arrangement around a fire feature. The dark glazed glass doors of the outdoor room would have a perfect pool vista.
The corner where the two trellis were closest to each other was a flurry of pale pink.
Reminding me that having a garden doesn’t necessarily make one a gardener, this bevy of smallish blooms making their way up and over these lovely trellises were identified in the tour directory as ‘Eden’ roses. I am guessing they are actually the classic French bred polyantha climbing rose ‘Cecile Brunner’ but regardless of what you call them they were the garden’s horticultural star.
A tall stand of bamboo and other greenery provided a simple backdrop on two side for the rectangular pool. The dramatic new pergola seen past the pool is the star attraction of the landscape remodel.
Providing cover for living, dining and food preparation this modern structure is beautifully lit, has multiple heaters integrated into the design and certainly fits the fresh, modern design aesthetic the homeowners desired.
Stylish and comfortable outdoor sofas and chairs provide plentiful seating in a living room atmosphere complete with its own fireplace and coffee table. The tall bamboo acts as the room’s wall and a modern rug softens the floor.
Simple and predominately green potted plants and a few reading materials complete the decor.
This petite meditation garden is tucked between the pergola’s living room and the main house. Geometric and simply planted is has a slightly Asian feel.
The little garden as seen from the walkway between the home and the outdoor entertaining spaces.
A dining table for twelve is centrally located for easy access from either the cook working in the outdoor kitchen or the guests relaxing in front of the fireplace. This is probably the best accidental view you’ll get of the interior of the new room which replaced the garage.
This backyard entertaining space is beautifully outfitted with high quality finishes and furnishings. It will surely be a space enjoyed by these homeowners’ family and friends for years to come. These types of spaces always look beautiful in magazines and on tours but I constantly wonder about their ability to stand up to the everyday rigors of just being outside. The tables, chairs and chaises I have in my own garden are perennially covered with pollen, leafy junk from the surrounding trees and shrubbery–and, lest I’ve blocked it out–handfuls of cat hair left from the neighborhood felines who think my garden is their personal paradise. It seems as though I spend more time and effort trying to keep these furnishing clean and accessible for family and friends than I do actually entertaining those same people. If anyone out there has worked out this tricky dynamic, I am waiting to hear from you!
The actual garden part of this space plays only a supporting role but is nicely done–not everyone is, or wants to be, a hands on everyday gardener. The goal must be to make whatever space you have meet your personal desires for its use and I think this renovation has certainly done that for the Davis family.
Another neighborhood garden extra–there are several Italian Renaissance style homes lined up in a row on this street. This one is right next door!
Next up…a petite oasis on a busy street
THE BRILLIANT GARDEN IN HANCOCK PARK