A feature of the house and land is the red clay and stone. We want to use this and not fight it. We love the way the rock wall flows and blends into the land.
The back porch is concrete and looks like a condo patio. We are going to extend this patio out toward the rock wall, leaving planting space. It will go just a couple of feet toward the master bedroom window and swing around to the left toward the office window. I think it would be nice if the patio material came all the way up to the back door, covering the cement pad.
Walk beside driveway
The driveway is to steep for old people to walk up without injuring their Achilles tendons. Sharon thinks a walkway straight up the hill on the left of the drive, with steps as needed, will make the house more inviting. Again, we like the stone found on the property and will use it to make the "informal" steps up the hill.
Walkway to the back
From the top left of the driveway, running in front of the cement steps, we are going to put a path that goes around to the back of the house, past the kitchen and office. I am thinking crushed granite (this is what we used at the SF Children's Zoo, it is great and easy to repair). But I am open to suggestions. The requirements for this path are; wheelchair accessible, erosion resistant, comfortable to walk with "bad knees", keep shoes clean when it is raining and make the house more inviting.
In front of all the outdoor water taps we want a clean non-muddy place to stand. Perhaps the walk material could be used to pave the spigots. To prevent the force of the water from eroding indigenous stone will also be used. The one to the right of the garage could be a cement pad, extended driveway surface. What about putting the trash and green waste cans outside on this pad. Will we need to hide the cans from the street?
There is a product for covering flat walls with stone that goes up like siding. There is a flavor that roughly matches the stone on site. That might look good covering the cement facing the street use in the front steps and giant planter boxes.
Sidewalk stone wall
When I first saw the house I though a knee high stone work wall look nice along the sidewalk. It would draw the eyes down, complement the stone work around the house and give us a level planting area for flowers and such. However, after living here and seeing similar stone walls around the neighborhood I'm thinking it might not be such a good idea 5 to 10 years from now, the earth moves. In any case, Sharon did this great mockup of what it could look like planted with manzanita (see March 2nd blog).