Passive Garden Becomes Active Outdoor Space 
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DETAILS

LocationSanta Clara, California United States
ClientBixby Land Company
Size2.4 acres

The site design is charged with a strong geometric pattern formed through large swaths of native planting, decking, and sunken courts. A rectangular grid is enhanced by intersecting materials, textures, light, and shade. Subtle grade changes create opportunities for seat walls and sunken gardens.  The intimate spaces that result provide for gathering, conversation, and recreation; together, they produce a large and flexible outdoor space with a single identity. The former planting scheme was an amalgamation of discordant plant species that required different maintenance and watering regimes and also conveyed an inconsistent character. Our transformation highlights drought-tolerant and native species in three defined planting blocks that create visual continuity across the site. An existing pond divided the interior courtyard with a spatial vacuum, leaving small residual spaces ill-suited to outdoor gathering or recreation. With its removal, the new design enables connection across the courtyard and the addition of a café pavilion, wood deck, two bocce ball courts, a break-out lawn, and ample seating. A deck allowed leveling the grade across the former pond without using imported soil.

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