Landscape Design Transforms Ranch into Private Park Made for the Whole Family

Our clients had a very ambitious idea when they first approached our designers: they wanted their very own private park created for their large extended family. They had a multi-acre sprawling property in the mountains of Tehachapi, CA & were desperately wanting a space that complimented the natural surroundings but also gave them a one-of-a-kind environment for family gatherings. They loved the idea of creating a true park environment, complete with lush grass, play space for the grandkids, & even an authentic park grilling space for outdoor barbequing. Amongst the acres of their property, they selected the space that was closest to main entry for the new landscape.
The site itself, while beautiful, posed a number of challenges for our team of designers & contractors. First, there was a huge grade discrepancy from one side of the property to another. One side of the landscape was nearly 10 feet taller than the other. Obviously, we did not want our park landscape to feel as if it was constructed on a massive ramp! Next, we had an auxiliary driveway & garage that would still need to be accessed by the family. Creating a path to the garage, without completely compromising the design was not going to be easy. Finally, we had a massive, specimen Oak tree that was a foundational element to the property that needed to be appropriately highlighted & cared for throughout construction.
Our designers agreed the best way to accommodate the grade change would be to raise the entire side of the property up to the driveway grade. This meant bringing in dozens & dozens of semi-loads of base material to fill in our landscape & bring us to a level grade. As this process began, we also had to construct a massive retaining wall that spanned one entire side of the property to accommodate this dramatic grade change. We used a tan, split-faced block to give a more natural texture to this very necessary construction element. Next, we created our half-court basketball court for the grandkids!
Our basketball court would serve two purposes: it would give an engaging play space for the family & act as the auxiliary drive way for the secondary garage. We poured the court/drive space in a tan, sand finish concrete to once again give a more natural look to the concrete. In order to define the basketball court space, we carefully saw cut the basketball key & three-point line into the design. Once this was completed, we stained these lines a darker color to make them more pronounced. Neighboring the basketball court, we began to create our lush park landscape.
Our clients were clear from the very beginning that they did not want to add more maintenance to this property than was necessary. With this in mind, we opted for a lush thatch of synthetic lawn instead of natural grass. This would eliminate the need for weekly mowing & edging throughout the new landscape area. Also, this would give our park landscape a lush look all-year-long! Our lush artificial grass space meanders across several thousand square feet of space & gives the property a beautiful look from every angle. Next, we installed a massive Santa Maria style grill that fit the park aesthetic & will give our clients plenty of grill space for large family gatherings. We also added authentic park benches & tables to the lawn space & basketball court to complete the park environment.
After we finished with the synthetic turf, we began our decorative stone work. Our first focus was on properly highlighting the property’s massive, specimen Oak tree. We decided to encircle the Oak tree with a beautiful, natural stone seat wall. The natural ledger stone we selected has hints of grey & amber tones that beautifully ties into the surrounding landscape. We even added a natural stone cap with a rough edge to give it a more finished look. Our clients loved this cap so much that they had us add it to the split-faced block retaining wall that surrounded the property. In order to visually connect this space to the basketball court area, we added matching columns & a raised planter wall that was faced with our natural ledger stone as well.
Our park landscape design would of course not be complete without a dramatic change to the planting palette. We added a number of specimen Virginiana Oaks, Eldarica Pines, & Ginkgo Biloba trees. We also added pops of color with landscape roses, day lilies, hydrangeas, & ornamental grasses. Now the park landscape is filled with splashes of red, yellow, pink, & white. This palette helped to beautifully blend this massive property addition into the surrounding landscape. In order to further reduce maintenance, we used tan decomposed granite as our mulching for our beds. This gave our planters a rich, natural color tone & will help to abate weeds in our planters.
We were nearing completion when our client added one more item for our to-do list: he wanted a dramatic front entry gate that would fit the scale of the newly expanded landscape. We crafted a beautiful, custom wrought iron gate that would span the large approach. We gave the iron gate’s frame a beautiful rolling arch to add a dramatic aesthetic. We used hammered pickets to give the gate more character & used the initial of our clients’ name as a centerpiece. Flanking the new gate, we constructed two dramatic columns to anchor the new piece. We faced these columns with the same natural stone that we used throughout the design & added two large light fixtures to finish the top.
Once we were completed, our clients were blown away at the transformation! A piece of their property that for so many years had simply been a sunken pit was now a majestic park! They have already begun to have guests & family visit & enjoy their new landscape. Their grandkids love the basketball court & even the adults are having a ball playing.