Our client fell in love with this formerly run down Victorian home in Palo Alto. Problem was, the historic house was a rabbit warren of halls and tiny rooms, while her taste was simple and modern. She gutted the interior and made a modern home within the restored shell of the building. Our task was to create a garden that felt modern and simple, while simultaneously honoring the period architecture. Our solution was to frame the garden with the "modernist" picket fence at the front of the house, which announces the date of construction, 1897. A second, higher fence defines the more private areas to the rear of the house. The back patio has a few whimsical touches that add a period flavor to the otherwise simple layout: the wood-frame architectural vine support in full view of the kitchen sink, and the giant-sized ceramic water fountain, which lends an Alice in Wonderland sense of scale to the entertainment area. As the visitor enters the garden from the street, the antique stone fragments along the path suggest a garden journey just a little different from the norm, while the flat rocks placed throughout the garden invite the stroller to sit, and rest, and look.

Landscape design: Chris Jacobson
Landscape architecture: Beverly Sarjeant
Landscape contractor: Sam Gomez
Antique stone fragments: Richard Gervais Collection