Blooming Horse Bridge and Fence

Horse Bridge and Arbor covered with Rosa banksiae, 'Lutea', Lady Banks Rose

Often a client will require security and privacy from a public space on or off the property. How to provide security and privacy but also develop a beautiful aesthetic that maintains a continuity of design and function throughout the property can be a challenge. I have a client whose home is located within the Pacific Palisades area of West Los Angeles, California (Near Will Rogers Historic State Park) which provides a good example of how planting design can accomplish these goals.

This post will outline my planting design and explain the rational behind the choices made to accomplish Security, Privacy and a Continuity of Design for my client’s home and garden.

Note: A series of progress photos can be viewed on my Flickr account, click here to view the photos.
The photos are located in the Flickr set titled ‘Blooming Horse Bridge and Fence’.

The clients security needs are to protect their grandchildren and pets from the street that runs along the properties West boundary and local wildlife like coyotes. In addition, to provide privacy along this Western property line from the street. The client security needs are provided by a 8′ black vinyl coated chain link fence. Black was chosen to blend the fence into the background and have the fence disappear as much as possible. This fence encompasses approximately 1/4 acre. The fence has various side gates to allow access to other portions of the garden for garden maintenance and general circulation. The fence also provides one large double gated entry for larger service and delivery uses. The fence also incorporates an existing wooden gate that allows access from the garden to the Horse Bridge – across a natural flood channel to the small country lane and the clients mailbox.

The home is a traditional custom ‘California Ranch Home’ nestle in one of the many canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains. The canyon has many sculptural old growth California Sycamore and native coastal plants. Horses and hikers alike use this canyon to access the many trails that connect to Will Rogers State Park and beyond. These environmental elements create a quite, calm, natural experience within a dense urban setting.

PLANTING DESIGN ANALYSIS (As it relates to the perimeter garden fence and connecting horse bridge)
Base on the existing environment mentioned above it is essential that any plant material and landscaping be sensitive and responsive to this ideal snapshot of nature. The proposed planting plan and landscape elements must blend seamlessly. In addition the plant materials must be safe for children and pets and not attract or enable wildlife to enter the primary garden and lawn space. The primary plant materials should be evergreen as to provide maximum privacy from the street and neighbors. The plant materials should provide year around blooms and scent if possible providing a beautiful view from within the home. Additionally, the plant material should respond to the variation in sun exposure as you move around the four sides of the garden. The soils conditions range from heavy saturated clay to rocky and dry. The East boundary line is considerably more wet than the West boundary. And finally, existing drain lines near the fence line restrict the size of plant material that can be planted.

The horse bridge is the primary landscape element along the Western border of the property. It is also where my client’s mailbox is located. The selection of a light, buttery yellow was to bring attention to the bridge. The yellow color also reflects the filtered sun creating it’s own source of reflected light. The fence is planted with all white blooming species. The fence is a background element and should remain quite. The use of both white and light yellow do not over power the natural surrounding vegetation. In fact they help blend and obscure the line where the garden stops and nature begins.

Taking into account the clients program, existing conditions, and planting analysis, the following plant materials were chosen and planted. You can view the final result on my Flickr set ‘Blooming Horse Bridge and Fence).

Horse Bridge
1.___Rosa banksiae, ‘Lutea’, Lady Banks’ Rose
(Double yellow flowers, almost no prickles, evergreen climber)

2.__Rosa banksiae, ‘Alba Plena’, Lady Banks’ Rose
(Violet-scented, double white flowers, evergreen climber, almost no prickles)

3.__Stephanotis floribunda, Madagascar Jasmine
(Evergreen vine, intense fragrance, white blossoms)

4.__Wisteria sinensis, ‘Alba’ Chinese Wisteria
(Deciduous woody vine, fragrant white flowers)

When starting a task be sure to know your client’s (Or your own) program, goals, likes and dislikes. Investigate in detail the projects assets and liabilities (These may include regulatory requirements). Determine if the liabilities can be mitigated in an acceptable manner. Play or act on your assets. This process, more often than not, will lead you to a great solution.

1.__Sunset Western Garden Book 2012
3.__San Gabriel Nursery and Florist

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