More Eichler Landscapes


Just about a year ago, I blogged about some front yard landscapes in a neighborhood of Eichler homes.  There are a couple of neighborhoods of these iconic Mid Century Modern homes nearby.  It was finally time to visit the other nearby Eichler neighborhood and see what sort of front yards they had to offer.  

This first home had been recently redone and was really a gem.  Note the facing brick that makes a splendid addition to low walls.  Though it is new, it is perfectly in the spirit of the original home. 
The hybrid desert tree, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' has been the It tree the past year or two in Southern California.  Every new landscape seems to have it.   Joining 'Desert Museum' in this garden are Agave attenuata 'Nova', Anigozanthos, Dasylirion, a bronze Cordyline, Furcrea macdougalii.  Along the front of the house, an unexpectedly poor choice of three Aloe barbarae--a wonderful plant, but its eventual size is too large for the space selected.  Did they not know that?  A flaw in a gem of design.  


 They cut the concrete pavers to follow the angle of the driveway.  That's an elegant, subtle detail. 
Too bad about the Aloe placement, but otherwise beautifully, beautifully done.

This home was a door or two down.  Also a well crafted project, though not quite as good as the first.  Again, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' is the tree, this time a pair of them, along with Aloe 'Vera' and burgundy Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'.  The colors in the burgundy grass were perfectly matched to some of the paint colors on the house.  Well done!


 Yes, it happened to be garbage day. 
 Here's another home, with yet another 'Desert Museum' on the far right, a few Agaves, a pair of Euphorbia turucallii ("Sticks on Fire"), and some small clumps of dead blue Fescue 'Elija Blue'.  It needed a little maintenance. The structure that cast those diagonal shadows was present on several homes in the neighborhood, so it is an orginal feature.  Adding shadows as a visual accent to a home is not all that common in home building;  it gives you an idea of the wonderful thought-through visual style of these homes. 
 Yet another xeric landscape.  I love how the color of the Echinocereus grusonii cactus is echoed in the color of the front door. 

 Another, this one with a planter of Cor-ten steel and five blue Agave Americanas.  There were a trio of Euphorbia milli (or topped Ocotillos?) against the house, some tufts of painfully thirsty grass, and that was it for plants.  The blue of the Agaves was echoed in the blue door. 

 
 Another home nearby went with three massive Agave americana (and their offsets), around a trio of palms on gravel hills. 

Another.  This older landscape would not have been nearly so effective without that globe of a pot and its Aloe topper placed exactly where it needed to be.  The elements would not have been balanced without the pot.  Amazing how one minor feature could make the composition click.


 Next, another older landscape, with cloud-pruned shrubs. 
The somewhat flatted round shapes of the cloud-pruned shrubs make perfect accents to the long horizontal and vertical lines of the home:
 This addition of roses and a Cycad to a succulent/gravel design is out of place with Euphorbias, Agaves, and Cistanthe.  The Phoenix roebelenii on the far left works well;  its a classic companion to succulents, but the roses...no.  And yes, I love roses.  Just not here.
 Only lawn.  However, the Cypress and Podocarpus behind the home add a perfect back drop, and even the power lines echo the wide low horizontal quality of the home.  
 Let's add to a lawn a palm, perhaps Mediterranean Fan.  That's almost enough.  Why distract too much from such stylish design? 

 This garden mixes a cloud-pruned olive tree with silvery ground cover and blue Agave americana.  Again the blue door to echo the plants, and the shadows.  The touch of orange in the fire hydrant is somewhat good!  A touch of orange somewhere on the house may knit the hydrant in--acknowledging its presence.  Wouldn't that be cool?


There are three styles that really seem to agree with these Eichler homes--the minimalist xeric style, (several examples of which previously shown),  a cloud-pruned shrubbery, and a lusher tropical-with-palms.  
 
Here's an Eichler with the tropical look.  The stone-faced wall isn't nearly as memorable as the texture on the very first home, but the lush happy palms and cycads look great. 
 Even a Caryota, looking very happy.
Another "tropical" look, with palms, cycads, Strelitzia nicolai, Philodendron, and Musa (banana).    It works.  
  The splash of orange in the door is the only non-green color, and it's enough.  And you know exactly where the front door is. 
 Grass, hedge, a single palm, and two pots of Sanseveria.  The shadows again.  It's all this house needs.  The simplicity works. 
 And the garbage cans match the front door!
We were so enjoying wandering this neighborhood.  There were ideas to admire, analyze, and enjoy.
 Note the diagonal line of shadow.  How simple, and how beautiful.

  Then, walking in a dreamy haze of admiration, we unfortunately spotted this: 


  Oy!  Oy!  Oy!!!

Steady, steady now.  Take a deep, deep breath.  Think back to that ultra-cool wall just down the street...and take a deep, deep breath.
 Whew.  That's better. 

Comments

  1. It's interesting to me how looking at a photo can reveal details and connections frequently not obvious onsite. These homes are visually stunning and provide such a great lesson in integrated design and how a minimalist approach can work so beautifully. And thanks for posting the butt-ugly one, too. What a hoot !

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    1. Yes, I did not realize (for example) how much the Cypress and Podocarpus behind the all-lawn home added to it, until I studied the photo for a while.

      It was such a fun visit--so glad I went!

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    2. There's more. Pearl is ready. Anytime !

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  2. Feeling your pain with that last one. I wonder what kind of people live there? Do they hang their heads in shame as they come and go?

    Thanks for the tour! I do love me some Eichler!

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    1. They may brag about how their roof doesn't leak, because Eichlers are a maintenance nightmare. Beauty always has a price. But that house--painful to look at.

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  3. I love that first wall and I was surprised to find how much I also liked the cloud-pruned shrubs. I've been very tempted to plant a palo verde tree but it's reputed to be fast-growing and that's like courting a confrontation with my neighbor.

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    1. Yes they get pretty large, 20-25'. :( I've always liked cloud-pruned, and roses, both out of style, but so what.

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  4. At first I have to say that I am always impressed by the size of the gardens in America. At the place where I live in Holland having a garden in the front of 36 m2 is a huge size. If I should show you how most of this frontgardens are looking I think you are going to cry. All covered with pavement. Even the back gardens have no green in it but looks more like an outdoor livingroom. But they don't have to get ride of the weeds but do theire "gardening"with a vacuumcleaner. It's not my thing.
    Have a wonderful sunday Hoover Boo

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    1. The size of the country...sadly there are many "outdoor living rooms" here as well, all covered with concrete. So many people have lost touch with the wonder of plants and nature. In Holland with your cold winters, it is more understandable than here where we can be outdoors nearly every day.

      Have a wonderful Sunday, too, hopefully in your garden! :)

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  5. The ultra-xeric versions evoke terror and despair to me. I know it's not a rational response, but... they seem deserted (no pun intended, and despite trash cans and cars), post-apocolyptic, terrifying; the sharpness of those shadows is BLEAK. Give me the tropicalismo -- or at least a lot more of those 'Desert Museum' trees and more ground cover / less pebbles.

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    1. I like succulents mixed with some shrubs, the shrubs providing lushness and the succulents line and form. Lots of just gravel is indeed a fiercely hot place to be. The 'Desert Museum' are great for providing light shade and taking the edge off the heat, but they drop litter onto the plants below.

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  6. I love how you selected various front garden types in this post. To me, the ones with gravel lawns looked hot and unfriendly. The ones with green in the front appeared cooler and friendlier. My favorite images are the "tropical" style plantings. I had not seen this type of landscaping used with Eichlers, but it looks heavenly in combination with the linear lines of the homes.

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    1. The two "tropical" examples were really attractive. I think it is a planting scheme that works well with Mid-century Modern because big tropical-style leaves have that architectural form and shape.

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  7. Swiss Chalet meets Eichler! Yes, the breezeway block retaining wall does help negate that visual. And I spy my triangle palm in the "tropical look" photo. I kind of get how people are happy with the minimalist look, design-oriented people, not plants-oriented people. And I realize the design-oriented probably outnumber us! But still there's ways to keep a house cooler with tree canopies, etc., and those big expansive walls would love some shapes in front, ocotillo, agave, whatever. So even the minimalist could have pushed a little harder and been even more impressive. Probably because it is the backdrop to my childhood walking to and fro school, I've never been a fan of cloud pruning. I get there's a neo-cloud pruning renaissance, but I just can't get on board yet. Thanks for the great tour!

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    1. If you walked your childhood route some of those same plants are probably still there, waiting to haunt your dreams.

      I check street view of our old family home every once in a while--the shrubs Dad planted long before I was born largely survive, though now whacked into odd shapes.

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  8. To choose to live in one of those houses, one would need to be design-oriented. It makes sense that their plantings would reflect that. Wonderful tour!

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    1. Glad you liked it. You do need to really love the style, as they are maintenance-intensive homes--the wood constantly needs to be re-done as the ever-sunny weather here deteriorates it rapidly. Also need the right style furniture, pay a high price for a one-bathroom house, and the roof is not insulated (maybe, I think) so it can get broiling hot inside. Ducts for A/C must be on the roof as there is no attic space. These can be beautiful homes but there are drawbacks.

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  9. In a world of "more is better", it's the simple things that can stand out the most. Thanks for showing these landscapes.

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    1. Agree completely, I love the simplicity of some of them. Being a plant lover and shopper, though, it is hard to keep things simple and spare!

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