Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

JUN 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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A Winning Way of Working The custom residential project in Irvine began as most do for English. "I have my clients fill out a question - naire. They let me know what they are looking for." The owners had a very plain backyard with a concrete patio and turf. They also had a large extended family, which they entertained at least six times a year. So accommodations for that was their main focus. This included a well-equipped outdoor kitchen, a large, heated dining room with an adjoining TV room, a seating area with a fire pit, and a custom 10-person spa. A wood-fired pizza oven was high on the homeowner's wish list of amenities but a local ordinance complicated mat - ters, and convincing them to remove it from their list became a challenge for English. "They really wanted it," she remem - bers. "But regulations prevented it so the kitchen plan had to be modified a few times." In the end, the kitchen had more than enough to satisfy the owners' needs. Cunningham Construction built both structures, the water feature and the rest to English's design. She was on site about twice a week, reviewing progress and consulting on any changes. Alterations on the Way Originally, English wanted the back- yard build to be more extensive. "I wanted to make it wider but the clients didn't want to use the room," she says. "And after we were done they wished they had listened to me." However, almost halfway through the project, they did decide, contrary to their original thoughts, that they wanted to refurbish the front yard. So English de - signed, and Cunningham constructed, an inviting setting with a few steps up to a travertine-paved area with a fountain, encircled by a small retaining wall made necessary by the removal of a slope. An ornate custom designed and fabri - cated iron trellis arches over the entry- way. Lush, drip-irrigated turf provides a transition from this area to the front door. Lighting with Care English is very "dark sky" friendly. For that reason the lighting was up lights, down lights and wash lights, all with shielded sources. "I don't want to see the glare of the light," counsels English. "I want to see the light where I need it." She does not use paver lights because, "They are shooting light up into the air where you don't need it." Step lights are not in her repertoire ei - ther. Instead she installs down lights on overhead positions, such as the entryway trellis, to illuminate steps. A Return Engagement Awhile after the project was completed, the home was sold. The new owner then wanted to add to the outdoors, and after seeing English's original plans, and admir - ing them greatly, hired her for the expan- sion, which is currently taking place. "I thought I'd be done in a month and that was about three months ago," English says slightly amused. In fact, a contract for more ironwork was just signed at the time of this discussion. Being willing to adapt has its advantages. LC DBM Right The raised 10-person custom spa, as well as the main structure, was engineered by Dawn Pasol of Phase II Engineering. Its two rain curtains are 8' long each. They are made of copper, as are the fire bowls. All the stone veneer throughout the project was supplied by local outlet Cougar Stone. Left About halfway through the back- yard construction, the owner decided to enhance the front yard also. Local pre- cast concrete supplier Pacific Stone pro- vided the columns in the background, the caps for the veneered columns and the wall, the treads and risers, and the centerpiece and cap of the fountain. Its basin was made from poured in place concrete. The wall, built with mortared concrete masonry units and surfaced with stucco, is actually retaining because the yard used to slope. Saddleback Valley Iron fashioned the front trellis from a design that the metal works company collaborated on with English. To illumi- nate the steps, she installed down lights in the trellis, a technique English favors as a dark sky enthusiast. The turf is irrigated with a drip system. June 2018 37

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