ISSUE 97  |  Love Letter to the Houseplant

Garden Visit: Andrea Cochran’s Courtyard Vignettes

November 12, 2013 11:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

In Northern California, a modern house with multiple courtyards affords green views year-round. To take advantage of the full-height, pane-free windows, SF-based landscape architect Andrea Cochran (a member of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory) created garden vignettes on the other side of the glass:

Photographs via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

Above: Seen from above, Cochran’s courtyard planting schemes soften the modern lines of the Marin County house.

Above: The same view at ground level: tall, spiky perennial grasses in a Cor-ten steel planter.

Above: Low-growing grasses planted en masse like a bedding plant, create a gray-green blanket against which other, brighter colored leaves pop.

Above: A mixture of pavement materials including smooth gray river rocks have the same effect as a patterned rug.

Above: By limiting the color palette to green and white in a tight corner, Cochran visually expands the space.

Above: To create a similar carpet-like effect between large paving stones, you can plant moss or baby’s tears or a springy, low-growing thyme.

Above: A deciduous tree without its leaves has a sculptural mien in winter.

Above: Playing with textures. Pea gravel and river rocks aid drainage. 

Above: An oversize planter emphasizes the Seussian shape of a potted tree.

For a larger scale Andrea Cochran garden, see Stone Edge Farm: A Peaceful Retreat.