Houzz TV: Curves and Surprises Transform a Dry Backyard

Houzz TV: Curves and Surprises Transform a Dry Backyard

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Houzz TV: Curves and Surprises Transform a Dry Backyard

The decision to redesign this property began with the desire for a backyard cottage for guests or work. Today, it’s an evolving set of welcoming outdoor rooms and a demonstration garden of low-water plants in beds representing Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean and California. Succulents provide color when the native plantings go dormant, and salvaged materials, vintage garden chairs and a hidden “circle garden” add to the yard’s surprises. “The garden is still a work in progress, which is fine with us,” says owner and landscape architect Chris Kukula. “It gives us something to look forward to.”

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Window Treatments by Transforming Rooms

Breathtaking landscaping, so inviting!!

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stlounick

Nicely done!

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Falon Land Studio LLC

Wow, dreamy renovation with thoughtful details. I especially love the custom flat files in the studio.

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garlichillfarm

Now, this is what I call a GREAT outdoor space design!

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agardnerdesign
Chris and Pat- lovely reno! Your garden and cottage reap the benefits of your knowledge, design aesthetic and patience. Well done!
And... What color and brand is your office wall painted?
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christmas9

Happy Christmas 2015 to all of you. Christmas Gifts Ideas. The article is so informative. I learnt a lot from it..

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Roundtree Landscaping, Inc

Wow! What a wonderful use of space. The details are excellent, especially the sedum in the steps. What a nice touch. Love it!

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Kendrah

Glad to see the landscape is mindful of California's severe water shortage.

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baylily
Nice cottage/office! What are the dimensions, please?
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shellstones

Raise a glass to a fabulous remodel. Love the outdoor niches.

Live long and enjoy.

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Magdy Tawfiq
a very nice landscape, like lovely portrait
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Sonny 62

It is greatly appreciated when a homeowner shows the "before" picture so we can see how the vision got from point A to point Z. It gives us an opportunity to see how a challenging piece of property can be turned into something beautiful and well utilized by the whole family.

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dirtgirl64
I love it! Just perfect.
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Muhammad Amin
so beautiful out door architecture
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Paul Trice
Very Nice
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Cheryl McGrath

You guys did a really GREAT job on your back yard, thanks for sharing the ideas.

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Kathy Dunn

Very nice, although I would have insisted on at least a toilet both for use as an office, and the eventual plan to have it as a guest house. Perhaps a composting toilet could be considered to avoid having to plumb a sewage line.

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Sarah Beaugh

You can see the Italian influences in so many of their choices. Just stunning!

I also appreciate the realistic/ actual timelines that most television shows don't have nowadays. The one thing we have learned in real life is that renovations and changes take time and patience!

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Susan Strickland

What a great yard. Peaceful yet full of energy.


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Cynthia Freed

Oooo, this is meditative to me! Thanks for sharing your talents.

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Wanda Heffler

Beautiful!

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Gerald Lorentz

Nice work. Kudos!

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Kathy Tracey Design LLC

Inspirational!

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Lydia Hinton
important business in obscure spaces
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Dressing the Home

Soooo jealous! It's a dream office.

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Janet Maffei

This is an amazing space, I was so inspired by this. We are making a move down south and hopefully we will be able to use some of your ideas in out yard.

thank you so much

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chatcat321

Everything looks so peaceful. I like the things that they used that they found. Very nice.

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Diane

Thanks for all the great ideas. This feels so welcoming and personal.

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maggierateye

I love everything about this! All the tiny details tucked among the greater changes give this home such personal charm. Thanks for sharing.

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silviakunst
My god !!! I can't believe how you transformed this small property ...UNDER 3000 square ft .!!!???
Now it looks like a Dream property with little places to hang out for just about everything one would want in a property ....and THAT office !!!!!
Brilliant !!!!!
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des9

So inspirational! Excellent & beautiful use of a hilly site and meagre water resources. Bravo!

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Cooky Goldblatt

Creativity! Beauty! Functionality! What a concept. Kudos.

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bluesky46

Pure magic!

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chdstudio
Great solution of design integration!
Love the space! Congrat!
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mamazuz

Fabulous!

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zuzuzhu
Beautiful and useful
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D B
what was the process of removing the clay ? cost ? legalities? municipal ?
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Carolyn Shook
this is all I need
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whitneytrace

How charming and lovely. Great cat too! ;)

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Katherine Smith

I liked that you used Sheet Mulching instead of the standard weed mat. More inviromental & the worms like it! Yay! Also love the iron bench made into an art piece. Very cool! The whole story was so inspiring. Thank you.

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hidesertkath

I am happy to read that you included a California Native garden. Lots of plants from other areas/countries will grow in our California climates but the birds, butterflies, bees and beneficial bugs need our native plants to thrive. You have built beautiful gardens and the cottage is so inviting. Well done.

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geraldpeters
I love this place, well done.
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susanschramek

. . nothing like commuting to the office via nature walk, stopping along the way to pick strawberries for a mid-morning snack. And, then lunch alfresco style at a little known Italian restaurant down the hill you both know quite well. . . Ah, the hillsides of Italy. The hard work you both did on your backyard, with your memories of Italy, shows a great deal of love for nature and what nature gives back in return. Great job, and an astounding Bravo. Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

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Linzel McBride

Absolutely gorgeous!


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goldengirlwest

Who made the custom fir flat files in the studio> Lovely...

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acfrosie

I am gobsmacked by the beauty of this place. Thank you for being on Houzz.

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adismom
What a creation ! I'm awestruck !! How do u create the inscription on rock?
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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

I purchased the rocks from a store in Portland, Oregon many years ago...

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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

Custom flat files were made by Miguel Mendoza Cabinets (M2 Squared, Bill Guba) (Oakland, CA)

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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

Interior Paint is Kelly Moore - "Sweet Daphne" I admit, the name of the paint I use really matters to me....!

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petermcgibney

you both are an inspiration just a fantastic garden

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thinkdesignlive

I have a crush on you two! Such hard work and passion pays off and thank you so much for sharing!

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mckennasmom

“There is this joyfulness that happened, of using it for what it was and always having something to look forward to, and actually enjoying the time of it being built.”

...thank you! I love this, and I think I'll write it, marker it, and frame it. So often, we're anxious to have something done and it becomes difficult to enjoy the process. For me this is true in my home and my career, in my yard and my job. You've inspired me (maybe I'll go after that LA license after all). Thank you!

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H. Hargrove Studio

absolutely amazing space. Love it!

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sherihorvath

Could spend hours walking, sitting, lounging, reading, weeding, observing nature, Love the space!

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Deirdre At Your Door

I so enjoyed watching this video....I think just like they do about using found objects. It was a treat to see Chris doing hand drawings, which is becoming a lost art!

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djdebbied

LOVE the stone lounge chair!


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Theresa S

I love everything! Thanks for sharing. I live in the area, and have two chairs I need sandblasted and powder coated, I was wondering if you would mind sharing where you had your two chairs done? Thank you!

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willajean

THIS VIDEO IS EXCEPTIONAL. ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST ENJOYABLE I'VE EVER SEEN. THANK YOU

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imho22

Fantastic profile of the creative development of a garden - I loved hearing the owner/designers talk about their thinking process as they made this beautiful and unique space! One question - I've never seen an oak with bark that is horizontally striated - is this a coastal California oak? Beautiful tree, I'm very curious about it.

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hou3line

This is one of the most inspiring pieces I've seen on Houzz. Great points about creating meaningful destinations in a yard. Creative repurposing, attention to both practical and aesthetic detail, and strong design sense make this yard outstanding. These are people I'd love to invite to dinner!

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Eunice Ortegon

I've heard so much about your garden. Seeing it here is inspiring and joyful!!! Wow! You hard work and patience has created a beautiful oasis.

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Julie Taylor

I enjoyed the video's on how you decided what to plant and where to plant. I also found the tip about getting rid of weeds. What kind of training did you both receive to be so good at what you do?

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Sue Levy

Thank you for this. i learned a few things and am now inspired to tackle a few spots I've been avoiding!

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Johanne St-Martin
Wow!
   
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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

We use Reliable Powder Coating in San Leandro, CA

   
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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

Oak is Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)

   
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jmometc

beautiful transformation and drought tolerant too. Wonderful energy and commitment to habitat friendly environment

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Veronica CN

Very cool. Clearly a labor of love, and I can relate! I wonder, how long did this take to build the overall garden/yard?

   
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tenleez

Nicely done! I have a u-shaped lot where the middle of the back yard is the low spot between a house on a slope down and at the back of the lot - another slope up. Would be interesting to build off your design to create something unique....

   
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grammieray

I see two beautiful people with love for the earth and love for each other AND such talent. Well done. Such a joy. Thank you.

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Sue Levy

Thank you for the wonderful explanations- beautifully done, with heart and soul. Some "how to " explanations I've seen on You Tube don't cover all the details. This one does- fantastic.

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ilovejoey
We just did a similar outside area, lots of ugly concrete, cinder block, and stone, but using semi-transparent concrete stain in sand, Browns, copper colors not paint, it transformed the area into a more organic feeling of Italy, Tuscan countryside. Easy product to use and blends like water colors. Try it.
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havingfun

beauty full

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ahlam80
Big like
   
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Paul Del Castillo

Great job on video! Loved the story and they could have their own show. Both so creative. Thanks, inspirational.

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minischnauzlady

Love this back yard!!


   
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Negar Shojaei
looking like a real paradise.
   
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Scott Shipton - work ASSA ABLOY
Careful to not put it close to foundation areas...termites love cardboard! Just look at what they put inside of the termite killing and indicator spikes...rolled up cardboard. The filet of soul to the termite.

Away from the house ok...just my three cents worth!
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liketodecorate
Can you use pine straw needles on top of the cardboard instead of tree chips?
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rseaspar
Like
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lickity split
First thought...termites
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Karen Herndon
Cardboard
   
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yadavbudhiram528

very nice

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jaycot
We at WSU are no longer recommending using cardboard for sheet mulching. It is now believed to actually ' wick' moisture from the soil rather than hold it in. The worms come to the surface because they are dehydrated, not because they love cardboard.
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goschinski
We have a neighbor in our neighborhood who did the "cardboard" thing in her yard. Well, her yard is the worst yard in the entire neighborhood. It if full of weeds, a real eyesore.
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Drexel Painting Company
I have actually seen this technique work very well. Thanks for sharing this video!
   
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Billie Hughins-Prestel
Wonderful imaginations, and the talent to make the vision come true!! Well done you!!
   
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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

For the record, We have concrete foundations and you would never place soil, cardboard or mulch anywhere near wood. Sheet mulching in the Bay Area works wonderfully and I cannot speak to other areas of the country (WSU). I have transformed my poor dense clay soils using this operation - the soil is now so rich in microbiology that the ground birds flock here in the spring. My plants are thriving with so little water you would be amazed. In our climate of 2 seasons, in-line drip emitters are important - they are placed on top of the cardboard with 2-4" of mulch on top. One of the goals is to cover the ground in between plants until they have time to touch and do the self composting themselves. Sheet mulching is not forever.

   
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LAMORJ INCORPORATED
I LIKE THIS GREAT IDEA
   
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Rita Surber
Have 11 inch handles for my 36 inch kitchen cabinets ....are these handles too long?
   
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GOODESIGN, Inc.
Who knew cardboard could be so resourceful in your garden.
   
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ht4799

Hello Ms. Kukula, you have an awesome backyard!!! I have a similar slope in my backyard in San Diego. Would you be willing to share your plans for this project?? I would like to model my yard after yours.

   
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Kristin Schrader
I'm kind of in love with this couple. Their enthusiasm and joy is contagious!
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Angie
Regarding the cardboard weed preventer method, could I use dead leaves to cover the cardboard instead of tree bits? I have an ABUNDANCE of dead leaves.
   
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Shae Hermon Laird
Great story!! Great transformation.
   
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Ashwini Kulkarni
I have a similar backyard slope its very daunting i am working with a very tight budget can you please suggest what i can do to my backyard step by step
   
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Chris Kukula Landscape Architecture

The key to weed suppression is the depth of material to block out the sun over the cardboard. I guess leaf mulch could work but it will biodegrade faster and you will need to reapply more often. Eventually the cardboard breaks down and by then you hope your plants have grown to almost touch (they self compost and mostly shade out the weeds) - or you reapply the cardboard and mulch.

   
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Anna-Marie Ball
wow... 2 professional artistic go-getters! i wanna be u when i grow up. i dont know what else ... yes i do ... gorgeous i feel the love awesome ty for sharing your talents.
   
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chatcat321

wow such a wonderful story and concept!

   
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