Function Mingles With Beauty in this Ultra-Livable Bay-Area Cottage Garden

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Photo credit: John Sutton

Photo charge: John Sutton

From Veranda

“This garden needed more than just pretty plantings. It had to be functional and family-friendly,” says landscape designer Erica Timbrell. The Bay Area cottage garden is an integral part of a young family’s second home, serving as a busy living and dining room, in use day and night. In addition to choosing plants that could handle kids hopping around the garden, Timbrell devised a program of rooms around the pool that are equally welcoming to children and adults.

Photo credit: John Sutton

Photo credit: John Sutton

“This garden has so many inviting places to gather. There’s restraint in the plantings. And those beds with the wattle fencing! I would not have thought of that.” —Bunny Williams, author and interior designer.

Photo credit: John Sutton

Photo credit: John Sutton

She refinished an existing pool and chose gray limestone pavers as decking to extend into the living spaces, including where a dining terrace is framed by a pair of L-shaped garden beds. “Raised vegetable beds are typically messy, not something you want front and center,” says Timbrell, who tidied these up for more prominent placement with large-scale willow panels from the Willow Farm in Pescadero, California. “It’s a creative way to dress up less-predictable plantings.”

Photo credit: John Sutton

Photo credit: John Sutton

And by aligning the kitchen backyard together with all the dining table, Timbrell provides over an extra sense of arrangement. “Now you know just where to go when you need an extra sprig of mint for a mojito,” she states. And that the showstoppers: a leggy parade of Incrediball hydrangeas light a leafy privacy wall of English ivy before committing to a pure rock edge. This appears to unite with all the hillside, which extends to a woodland of California redwoods. “Depending on when you arrive, you can hear kids playing or birds singing,” states Timbrell. “It’s designed as a primary living area.”

2021 Outdoor Living Award Winner for Cocktail Hour’s Most Coveted.
Design by Erica Timbrell Design.

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