American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2006 Professional Awards
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The geometry of the hardscape contrasts with the bold, organic texture of the Senecio mandralisca. (Photo by John Ellis.)
The gravel terrace, edged with Corten steel, serves as a common sitting area and transitions down from the garage to the apartment building.(Photo by John Ellis.)
The garage wall is disguised by a covering of Vitis californica, which also provides a backdrop for the sitting area. (Photo by John Ellis.)

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Horizon Residence, Venice, California
Marmol Radziner and Associates, Los Angeles, Calfornia

"Refreshing. It floats in the space. Good proportions and very attainable."

— 2006 Professional Awards Jury Comments

The design of this 975 sq. ft. enclosed courtyard required sensitivity to scale, light, and topography.  The result transforms the connection between four apartment units and garage into an aesthetic and inviting communal space.  The design introduces planting areas and gravel terraces that navigate the grade change on the site.  These terraces provide a seating area where residents may gather to enjoy the simplicity and modern elegance of this restrained design.

The courtyard features plant materials with textural interest and subtle color variations that provide an interesting foreground plane and create a sense of depth.  The soft and organic plant forms contrast the clean rectilinear lines of gravel terraces.  The Corten steel enclosed terraces rise like islands from the surrounding sea of plantings to create a space for the residents that feels separate and special.  To create a warm feel to the common sitting area, grape vines cover the garage wall that runs along the side of the terrace.

Due to the proximity of the neighboring buildings, limited sun exposure was a large challenge in this project. Despite this constraint, a mix of shade-tolerant native plant materials, succulents, and desert plants was used to create a viable garden that matched the look the client desired.   A plant palette ranging from grey to green creates a soothing color range that gently moves the eye through the space.  Acacia trees add an intriguing structural form and along with Vitis californica and a variety of succulents offer the appearance of lushness while only requiring minimal irrigation.  Clean lines, simple forms, and bold contrasts create an elegant design, which balances function and aesthetics within the challenges of a limited space.   

Project Resources

Furniture, Gate, Trellis and Edging Design:
Marmol Radziner Furniture


Landscape Contractor:
Clark and White Landscape




The faded mural on the neighboring wall becomes an interesting element in the garden. (Photo by John Ellis.)
Landscape site plan (Image courtesy of Marmol Radziner and Associates)
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