Award-Winning Garden, Walnut Creek, by Huettl Landscape Architecture

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The owners of this splendid yard in Walnut Creek, California, wanted an inviting space for outdoor living and entertaining; that’s when they consulted Huettl Landscape Architecture to see to the details — and those were numerous. After planning the water feature and cascade, the architects designed the layout around a linear wood deck that runs like a “spine” from the spa area of the yard, across the water, and to a fireplace and patio covered with a trellis. Various “rooms” emerge from this layout: the outdoor breakfast deck is like an extension of the kitchen; the fireplace and steel arbor echo a family room; and the spa and plantings reflect the calm serenity of a bedroom. (Although it must be said that when the little ones are around, there’s not a lot of calm serenity along the paver paths!)

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Plantings here are lush and cool: ground cover and perennials edge the interior and exterior walls, while willows and water grasses dot the pond. Color comes from bright lilies and variegated red grasses, but the predominant aura here is green. Shrubs wrap gracefully around pillars and climb concrete, while mature trees provide shade overall. And can’t you just imagine how beautiful that steel trellis will be with climbers on it? This plan’s versatility — being equally adaptable to quiet contemplative moments or bunches of family and friends in a party — hasn’t gone unnoticed, either: in the 2006/2007 Sunset Magazine Dream Garden Awards, this took the Grand Prize! It’s a winner all the way around: the garden at the Ott residence, by Huettl Landscape Architecture.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).