Skyhawk Backyard

  • Location: Santa Rosa
  • Date: 2022

The clients had several goals in this backyard renovation project: increase their usable patio space, lower their water use, increase the yard’s usability. So the existing concrete and brick patio was removed and replaced with a larger one. The remaining lawn was removed, and was replaced with drought tolerant plantings. The clients wanted to explore the idea of a backyard bocce ball court, but placing it even with the slope would have cut the yard in half. Instead, the court runs against the slope, cut in on one side and rising above in the other. The old vegetable garden was removed, and now fits into the new configuration of the landscape, doubling as seating to watch the game.

The backyard features two focal points- one, a water feature made of three basalt columns. The other is a decorative screen at the foot of the bocce ball court, which helps hide utility space near the garden. Rather than go with something plain, we decided to use this as an opportunity to create something special, so composite Modinex panels were used on the screen, with an acrylic background that diffuses both natural daylight as the sun passes behind, and night lighting. In addition to the screen, the water feature, bocce ball court, steps and trees are all beautifully lit up at night.

I often like to include a smaller, more intimate spaces in my landscapes. It turns out this yard already featured a round, flagstone patio in the opposite corner, but it was blocked by a planting of tall grasses! We removed the grasses, cleaned and re-laid the flagstone, and added a flagstone pathway to connect to the main patio, both visually and functionally. This small patio provides a quiet space to sit as well as escape to the shade provided by mature trees.

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