In the Bay Area, “user friendly” doesn’t just refer to the latest software upgrade. It’s how Terremoto describes the Sonoma landscape it designed for a San Francisco couple who wanted a low-maintenance weekend retreat.
Landscape architecture firm Terremoto created a restrained and refreshing landscape for the couple, who had a few requests: a pool, a bocce court, simplicity, and some fruit trees to power their craft cocktails. “They didn’t want to do a lot of yard work,” explains Alain Peauroi, who, along with David Godshall, founded Terremoto several years ago. “They wanted a user friendly weekend getaway. We gave them rustic warmth.”
Read on to learn how Terremoto, with offices in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, helped this Sonoma vacation home blend simply into the Northern California wine country.
Photography by Caitlin Atkinson.
Above: The landscape features a straightforward pool and spa, protected al fresco dining area, bocce court, and a fire pit meadow. Sonoma fieldstone seating rims the fire pit, trimmed with Corten steel. Festuca ‘Mairei’ and transplanted multi-trunked Arbutus ‘Marina’ create a low-maintenance meadow. “That festuca is bulletproof,” says Peauroi. “Once a year it’s cut back and that’s it.” When the landscaping was complete, the couple painted the house white and “everything just came together,” says Peauroi.
Above: Because Sonoma County has strict policies against removing trees, the firm worked around many existing specimens, including this towering redwood. For the fence, Terremoto specified Select Tight Knot (STK)-grade cedar and a black steel frame. Entry planters are white poppy, little ollie, dusty miller, and rockrose. An Olea europea ‘Wilsonii’ hedge peeks out above the fence. Terremoto likes to pop black accents through a landscape.
Above: The entry sequence features the redwood and an existing maple. The boardwalk of SDK-grade cedar steps up to an elevated front patio. Festuca ‘Mairei’ and blue decomposed granite compose the entry meadow, the same materials used in the back meadow. Black path lighting by Lightcraft punctuates the walkway.
Above: The maple acts as a specimen, with a beautiful branching habit.
Above: Raised vegetable beds line the bath to the pool and lounge areas. Terremoto chose Stepstone handmade, pre-casted concrete for the pool coping and an acid-etch finish (sometimes called water-wash finish) on the poured concrete. The light coloration of the coping creates a tone-on-tone contrast to the concrete. The designers worked with Bertram Pools to construct the pool and specified white plaster for a refreshing feel. Creeping fig has been planted to eventually cover the fence. At poolside are Finn Lounge Chairs are $675.75 each from Design Within Reach.
Above: Terremoto gravitates toward what Peauroi calls “elemental moves.” He says, “We like using natural California material. We like being honest, letting the material speak for itself.” The 42-inch Corten steel fire pit with fieldstone seating is the centerpiece of the back meadow, which is atop the septic system. Designing around septic systems is commonplace in wine country. Arbutus transplants, with their larger roots, were placed outside the septic boundary.
Above: Black-trimmed folding doors create nearly seamless indoor-outdoor living. A cedar bench provides storage. A French Beam Concrete And Teak Table is available in a variety of sizes at prices starting at $2,470 from Restoration Hardware.
Above: A sunken bocce court features Corten steel edging and oyster shell surfacing. String lights, barn lights, and the painted front door all add accents of black.