Harmony House, Photo Gallery
How putting succulents in the pond and snapping up the local nursery’s ugliest trees yielded a pitch-perfect paradise.
Four years ago, musician Nate Mendel bought a house in the Los Angeles hills surrounded by a scrappy lawn and a few big trees. It sat wide open to the street, and an energy-guzzling swimming pool swallowed must of its half-acre lot. But the 5,000-square-foot house itself was a gem, a low-slung ranch built in 1953 and untouched since. While its restorative mountain and valley views were already in place, the garden needed major help.
In this photo gallery, view the results of this home's "garden makeover," designed by landscape architect Mark Tessier.
For more about this house and garden, read the full story, "Harmony House."
The beautiful views from Mendel's home helped inspire the garden's look.
A fountain sits opposite the frosted glass gate.
Succulent plantings include red-edged Echeveria subrigida ‘Fire and Ice’ and deep purple Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop.’
A front courtyard eases the transition from public to private.
A small grove of fragrant Valencia orange trees is underplanted with oregano (Origanum vulgare) and paved with a permeable walking surface made of decomposed granite.
If you’re putting in a pathway, consider the gritty mix commonly known as decomposed granite (DG) for the bits of naturally pulverized rock scooped into front-loaders from quarry floors.
Kafka Granite in Mosinee, Wisconsin, sources its pathway materials — granite, marble, quartz, and quartzite — primarily from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Canada. Variations in geology from quarry to quarry affect the color of the gravel, as shown in the samples (left). 1. Wineberry granite. 2. Evergreen granite. 3. Red cedar granite. 4. Carmel quartzite. 5. Dynamite orange granite. 6. Pewter granite.
The house’s architecture directed the scale and orientation of the new landscape.
The brilliant red blooms of a bottlebrush (callistemon) inspired the furnishings’ colors.
Nate Mendel and Kate Jackson with Jersey, their Jack Russell terrier.