Sunset Magazine 2005 'Green Built' Idea Home


Located in Menlo Park, California, these two homes were designed for Sunset Magazine's Idea Home program by HLD Group Landscape Architecture. As lead landscape architect/project manager, I worked closely with the Sunset team and the builder, Clarum Homes to create a sustainable landscape. The Idea Home was published in the December 2005 issue of Sunset Magazine.

The rear yards of the two homes are extremely small, so we made use of every inch of space. Here, we designed a meadow with 'no mow' sod by Pacific Sod. This soft lawn substitute rolls out like typical sod lawn, but it grows slowly, providing the look of a natural meadow, but requiring mowing only a few times per season. Trex composite lumber 'stepping 'pods' dot their way through the meadow. The natural stone patio is set on a sand base to allow for water percolation.

Outdoor cooking is an ever-popular pastime. Here, we created a built-in barbecue grill with a mortarless block system by Calstone. This structure does not require a concrete footing. Instead, the modular blocks pin together. This system saves time, money, and natural resources. The blocks are modular and can be re-used. The photo inset shows the process of laying the block.

Recycled glass mulch gives this planter a colorful look. The glass is tumbled and can be purchased by the pound at Building RESources in San Francisco. This planter box is constructed of salvaged lumber, a sustainable way to build creatively while conserving resources

The rear patio is locally-quarried Mariposa slate, set on a sand leveling course over 4" base rock. Filling the gaps is decomposed granite set with a natural polymer binder.

The salvaged lumber redwood planter can be seen in the background.


When concrete patios or driveways are removed, they can often be re-used on-site as stepstones or stacked walls. Here, we designed a raised planter constucted from concrete pieces leftover from the demolition of a patio. A natural stain gives the concrete pieces a golden color to match the crushed stone we used in the patio.

Stephanie Morris, Landscape Architect - cell (408) 206.5055 or stephlmorris@hotmail.com