We recently had the pleasure of photographing a Malibu garden design by landscape architect Wendy Harper.
Hidden in a canyon perched on a point overlooking the Pacific, the property owned by Harper’s clients is a perfect weekend getaway. The experience begins on the winding narrow road leading you around a bend where you get your first glimpse of the ocean. To enter the property you must then cross over a babbling creek on a beach cobble bridge. Harper used natural beach cobble and Santa Barbara stone to connect with the surrounding environment. Large Monterey Cypress and towering California Sycamores, planted when the home was built in the mid 1900s, create an inviting canopy over the site.
“The property is long and narrow with many constraints and challenges,” says Harper. “My goal was to make all of the spaces in the garden feel like living spaces, even the parking court, which is incorporated into the yard by introducing a weeping wall water feature, grass ribbons in the beach cobble paving, lush plantings with antique urns dripping with succulents and colorful blooms most of the year.”
The entertaining patio outside of the kitchen is warmed by an outdoor fireplace decorated with Eye of the Day’s Antique French mantel and surround. Select cut Santa Barbara stone set on sand paves this outdoor room. Eye of the Day’s containers planted with succulents and citrus decorate the space.
A curved stone staircase leads you up to the pool area. Tuscan-style molded brick columns support the long pavilion framing the pool. Taking a swim in the pool is a musical experience where you can listen to your favorite songs…underwater. Sigis cut glass tile compliments the spa and waterline, and colored pool lights transform the water into a kaleidoscope at night. The ipe hardwood deck ties to the railings which mimic the turned wood railings of the home’s balconies. Interestingly, the use of ipe was the only specification from the homeowner for this project. Everything else was left to Harper’s creativity and expertise.
“I wanted it to feel like it had all been here from the start, so bringing the turned railings onto the deck was a natural choice,” explains Harper.
Chisel-cut Santa Barbara Stone walls hold olive trees and sycamores on the upper slope as a lazy hammock swings between the trees. Three small ancient church windows from Eye of the Day’s antique collection inspired the changing room with outdoor shower. The pilaster planters are purposely understated with simple succulent plantings so as not to crowd or overshadow, just to compliment the space.
About the Designer:
Wendy Harper is a landscape architect based in Moorpark, California. To view more of her work, visit the Wendy Harper Landscape Architecture Facebook page.