Lest you think that only expansive, sprawling sites lend themselves well to landscaping detail, take a look at this Lin residence in Walnut Creek, California, by Huettl Landscape Architecture. This is a compact design, using slate walls, rectangles, and what Huettl calls a “simplified planting palette” to organize the space into elegant outdoor “rooms.” Concrete pavers in an easy design bridge the gaps between rooms and make a natural-feeling “patio” beneath them. As an attachment to the home, an arbor with a slatted roof provides welcome shade for the alfresco dining area and a softer detail against the two-story house façade. For visual and aural interest, a fountain trickles from a column of stone — another great ambient effect.
The floral palette is soft in both hue and texture; of course, there’s lush green in the manicured lawn and the mature trees. Additionally soothing are waving tall native grasses, such as variegated bloodgrass and reedgrass; clusters of these and other grasses punctuate the spaces in between walls and help delineate the garden. Lilies add subtle color: pale purple, pastel yellow, clean white. Terraced beds of varying heights trim the tops of stone walls and set off cozy corners with both stone ledges and wood benches for quiet moments. And, yes, this is a typical neighborhood lot, complete with privacy fencing — but you certainly don’t feel unpleasantly “hemmed in” by a high border wall with the abundance of feathery green that edges it. It’s a subtle space that gives you all you need and nothing in excess: the Lin garden by Huettl.