Pleasing The Palette

Located only 500 feet from the ocean on a quarter of an acre in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a Mediterranean/Spanish-style residence needed more pizzazz in the outdoor living space.

The casita provides a warm and inviting area for dining and relaxing.

After numerous consultations, meetings, and design proposals with the owners, the project finally “got on the board” with a promise to deliver:

• State-of-the-art swimming pool complex

• Fireplace

• Fully equipped casita

• Personal putting surface

• Multiple water features

• Driveway and stone patio

• Creative lighting schemes

• Environmentally friendly native plantings.

A project of this scope would not only challenge the designer and his crews, but present an enormous strain on the residents as they lived through the daily grind of the construction.

Clean Beginning (Or) Blank Canvas

One of the biggest challenges architects face on a daily basis is living with, or working around, existing features. Having to incorporate a once-favored structure into a new and different landscape has caused many projects to fall short.

Fortunately, this was not the case in this project. Our company was given a blank canvas to create a masterpiece. The demolition phase began with the removal of all existing grasses, irrigation systems, and undesirable grade changes.

Benefits Of Detailed Planning

Armed with a complete understanding of the proposed plans and the homeowner’s confidence in the assembled team, we utilized the demo equipment to its fullest and created as we demolished.

The dig for the main pool, wading pool, and spa was accomplished by removing tons of unwanted earth. Landscape-quality rocks were unearthed, later used as finishing stones for other areas.

Footers for the 16-foot by 30-foot casita also were built during this phase, as were the trenches for underground infrastructures.

Planting surfaces were determined for as many as six palm trees and planters.

Benefits Of Being Square

One of the initial challenges of a project of this size is to keep all lines, corners, and junctions true and square to the prepared plans. Failure to do this can result in an unwanted dead space, or relationships that are out of sync.

Truly, layout is everything, and a qualified surveyor is a valuable part of any landscaper’s team.


One of the many jewels in this project is the outdoor casita, located only steps from the main house. Typically, a casita means “a small kitchen.”

The pool area is lush with plantings.

It consists of a 28-foot-long outdoor BBQ kitchen with a 48-inch barbeque, outdoor refrigerator, microwave, sink, and garbage disposal, along with multiple storage units built of custom cabinets. The amenities are limitless as the custom countertop is an imported Brazilian granite slab of unique color and pattern, with bull-nose finished edges.

At the far end of the barbeque is a 42-inch TV with surround-sound speakers that are recessed into the structure for maximum enjoyment.

Strategically placed within the casita are four stainless-steel electric heaters. The choice of electric power enables the area to be warmed rather than heated, adding to the overall welcome of the casita’s environment.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Tucked Away
  2. The Floating Barge
  3. Blending In
  4. Mesa State College Natatorium
  5. TMI Salt Pure Corp.–Project Portfolio
  • Columns
  • Departments
  • Issues