Skyline Meadow Farm
As an ongoing creative collaboration, this multi-acre Oakland Hills property is a collection of destinations that each marry beauty and function. Starting with the driveway—the geometrically patterned pavers were attractive and served an important purpose, but having too many risked distracting the eye from the magnificent natural surroundings. How to create a more balanced counterpoint of hard and soft while still retaining enough space for 10 parked cars and a large service truck to turn around in? The solution arrived three-fold: installing elliptical islands of planting beds, expanding the foundation planting beds further outward, and introducing curves to soften the signature lines of the home’s mid-century modern architecture. Off one end of the drive, new steps of thoughtfully selected brown basalt stone clearly define a path to tiered vegetable beds, a hive for honey production, and an orchard of citrus and stone fruit. In place of a water thirsty lawn, the back garden is now a meadow-like bank of low-mow fescue and tough, waterwise perennials with long, colorful bloom times like Salvia and Lavender. Taller plantings—Arbutus ‘Marina,’ Rhamnus alaternus ‘John Edwards,’ and Ceanothus varieties—were also incorporated to screen unwanted views. Together, the newly planted bank and taller plants blend more seamlessly into the natural surroundings beyond, ultimately maximizing the home’s panoramic view of the bay. With such an exceptionally large and inviting site, there was ample room to add a new dining patio, firepit area, and a rebuilt water feature which is now home to a collection of vibrant koi. A meandering network of flagstone paths was the final touch to tie these alluring spaces together.