coastal mid-century

Photography courtesy of © Lori Brookes

Johnson Residence, Pacific Beach

Dick and Shirley wanted a change. The recently retired engineer contractor and church administrator had been traveling quite a bit in their RV and were now settling back down to enjoy their Pacific Beach home and community. One morning as they gazed through their front door at the long-neglected sea of Juniper trees, bushes and dead patches, they finally decided that this was the time to do it.

Since purchasing the home in 1995, the couple had always wanted to improve its curb appeal and make the front yard more of gathering space for friends and family and to reflect the beachside feel of their neighborhood. “We’ve known Kendra for years through our church,” reflects Shirley. “So we’ve had first-hand knowledge of her excellent work ethic and incredible talent. She was the first and only call we made.”

The Johnsons’ requests included a boardwalk, a discreet place on the porch for large packages, a larger mailbox, a fence for the safety of young kids, and to incorporate a recently purchased tall rock fountain. “Kendra really listened to us and came up with some fabulous ideas that were beyond our imagination,” says Dick. “And we were delighted by her extensive knowledge from design all the way through to final plantings.”

Kendra created a beach-inspired, modern space defined by a multi-level deck, casual gathering areas and island-style natural elements. From the sidewalk, a low wood-gated entryway effortlessly opens to wide concrete pads that gently transition into the 2-tiered, sustainable Brazilian hardwood deck. A boardwalk off the deck meanders past the modern granite fountain and through ornamental grasses to a “beach scene” with natural Adirondack chairs, driftwood and mini sand dunes. Decomposed granite was used to create the illusion of beach sand yet stays in place, wet or dry. The entire space is bordered by a modern style horizontal wooden-rail fence atop a generous beach pebble rock bed designed to catch water from running off the property.

The plant selection was comprised of low water requiring subtropical plants underplanted with soft, breezy ornamental grasses that can soak up a lot of water or survive during a drought. Multiple types of permeable surfaces and rugged temperaments were incorporated into the garden. A variety of planters were used throughout the space to create focal points of interest and structure. “We are travelers, not gardeners,” says Dick. “So we’re thankful for the drip-irrigation system which means very little maintenance on our part.”

“The new space has added so much to our lives!” affirms Shirley. “One big change is that we now use our front yard like an addition to our house. We come outside to enjoy our coffee and reading in the mornings, we’ve gotten to know our neighbors that stop by to admire it, and we can now relax while the grandkids run around. The island beach theme fits perfectly and is so welcoming. What’s not to love?”