Stanford Front Yard Hillside with Manzanita






The existing front walkway of this home steps up over four feet from the driveway. This created an opportunity to create a garden of mixed plantings viewed at eye level and from above, including fescue, California fuchsia, and bright yellow Heterotheca villosa 'Sand Bruno Mountain'. A highlight of the front yard is an existing mature manzanita tree with a beautiful twisting trunk structure (at left of photo).

BEFORE: the owners had cleared the front yard of vegetation, creating a blank slate.
AFTER: New ceanothus plantings will soften the hillside. The plantings are all selected for medium to low height, to preserve views of the house.

The hillside planting scheme works with the existing small oak tree, shown in this photo, and the manzanita. Included are Ceanothus 'Yankee Point', Purple floweing Verbena lilacina, Groundcover Manzanita, and Salvia 'Dara's Choice', a sage variety that stays low and flowers early in the season.

To connect the front door with the side yard gate, I played off the existing modular walkway of squares and rectangles. These stepstones are stained concrete without rebar. Also shown in the photo are four trellises which match the black trim of the windows. A red-berry toyon shrub was selected for each trellis, providing winter berries, creamy white summer flowers, and handsome evergreen foliage. Additionally, training a shrub on the trellis as an espalier is much lower maintenance than the constant trimming that a vine would require.

We decided to that an existing wood planter alongside the driveway should remain rather than be rebuilt, as it was in good condition. I selected the non-native (but drought tolerant) Convolvulus mauritanicus to serve as a groundcover which trails over the side of the wood wall, softening the wall. This plant will bloom with lavender flowers during most of the warm months of the season.

A view from the front door looking toward the existing Manzanita. Low Groundcover manzanita was planted in this area so as not to detract from the trunk-structure of the existing shrub.

Stephanie Morris, Landscape Architect - cell (408) 206.5055 or