Magical Los Gatos Residential Landscape by Zeterre Landscape Architects

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When is a retaining wall more than a retaining wall? At the same point, when is a car parking space more than a parking space, a motor court more than a motor court: when it’s transformed into an effective and beautiful landscaping element? That’s what happens to this “ordinary” Los Gatos residential landscape when Zeterre gets a hold of it. See that brilliant white-and-green “sparkler” effect as glimpsed from above? That’s only the beginning; there’s a squared “pergola” with hanging contemporary ornaments at one point; there’s a series of breathtaking terraced beds of purple and native grass at another. See that retaining wall? It’s pure white now, with pillars — fronted by a wavy raised bed of succulents and other native plants, themselves behind a retaining wall of multicolored stone.

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The swimming pool is a long, turquoise rectangle, shaded by swaying palms and edged by yet more terraced beds that line the steps down from parking to patio. You can see an Oriental influence in a series of arbors — squared-off white arches without greenery climbing them, but providing a neat frame for the riot of color on either side. Like fountains? There’s a brushed-steel curved version welcoming you around a turn in the entrance drive. Seen from above, the garden is two symmetrical halves bisected by blue stone; seen from its own level, it’s a dazzling mix of Oriental influences and ultra-contemporary style that Zeterre uses to transform parking spaces, a pool, and a yard into a seamless entity that is simultaneously a splendid outdoor living space and a work of art.

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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).