Landscape Sketchup

May 4th, 2010

By the powers of Sketchup! Make It So!

Well, I’m no landscape designer (obviously) but there are a few rules in how we need to approach this whole desert landscaping business – hopefully moving things along with the The Year of the Exterior.

1. Drought Tolerant Plantings (no grass, no horsetail reed, no Papyrus, nothing tropical…i.e. all the things I like.)

2. Simple to maintain (lots o’hardscape)

3. Modern, clean and cost effective (Use one thing and repeat repeat repeat for impact and cohesion. I’m cheap!)

The idea with the front yard is to use a combination of barrel cactus, blue fescue, mexican feathergrass, ocotillo with a palo verde tree thrown in. That big middle rectangular lump is supposed to be a lawn of mounding “blue fescue” but the stupid 2-D bush thing won’t stay put, and it’s not actually fescue at all. I’m having a hard time finding the right plants in the Sketchup 3-D warehouse.

Decomposed granite will function as most of the ground cover with insets of light gray or white pea gravel under the fescue, the palo verde tree as well as in the side yard area. Fun plans for that to come…

For the hardscape I want at least three big boulders and would like to pour rectangular concrete steps from the front door to the sidewalk. We also are planning to build a masonry wall on the right side of the house and along the neighbors property to replace all the nasty fence thing that is happening there now.

Here is plan view of the Brick House compound where you can see the insets of gravel on the DG.

I think kangaroo paw will line the side of the driveway, past the eventual “gate”, to soften up and disguise the orange fence a bit.

The “gate” I’m thinking about building is based on this gate design from Blake Dollahite.

Hog panels! I’m probably going to need to learn how to weld.

We also need to rebuild a more aesthetically pleasing mailbox.

So many big plans, so little money (and skill).

First things first. Paint the house. It’s totally going to happen! And soon.

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  1. Penny on 05/04/2010:

    While in Sketchup, you forgot to punch a hole in the outside dining room wall and put in slider doors leading out to the patio. 😉

    Looks amazing.

  2. Conan on 05/04/2010:

    Looks like a plan! Although, I was thinking the gate would look nice were it done with the same aesthetic as your slat screened porch…might be too linear though…

  3. Kim on 05/04/2010:

    Just a thought- the palo verde will send out little seedlings making that whole area a constant nightmare (know from experience) – might want to consider a different tree?

  4. Coletta on 05/04/2010:

    love it…i really do.
    at least you do not have a hideous and very large oak tree hovering over your property like we do. we removed all grass (dogs killed it with pee and poo) and replaced it with pea gravel (which i love) it is covered ALL THE TIME with pointy, ugly, god I freaking hate them, oak tree leaves.

    AND it is illegal to cut down the “precious” things here….even though they line every street and fill every yard!

  5. Tyler (plastolux) on 05/04/2010:

    This looks killer, although I do have to agree with CONAN. I too think it would look better to echo the slatted look form the patio to the gate.

  6. Cynthia_StellinaStellina on 05/04/2010:

    This is gorgeous, and I’ve been such a huge fan of your work. Normally I”m not the biggest fan of dessert-chic either, but somehow the plans above seem warm and inviting. Can’t wait to see the finished pictures, both inside and out.

  7. Kati on 05/04/2010:

    Wow–I love it!

  8. THE BRICK HOUSE on 05/04/2010:

    Originally I did have the wood gate for the driveway:

    Thats what I would really like, but some folks scared me off the idea since its such a huge gap and I don’t know how we would actually build it to withstand a lot of use. Maybe it can be worked out…

    Kim – oh no! I hadn’t thought of that – and my grapefruit tree already make me crazy with its shedding. But whats a good option? Won’t most trees do that?

  9. YYBHS on 05/04/2010:

    are you sure you are not an interior designer/ architect?

    you rock morgan!

  10. THE BRICK HOUSE on 05/04/2010:

    I wish!

  11. Kim on 05/04/2010:

    Actually, you just got me thinking, and I really do think the Palo Verde would be the best tree – I did find a hybrid PV, called the Az Desert Museum Palo Verde- supposedly less mess, less seeds and no thorns! Formal name is Parkinsonia. Good luck and I can’t wait to see how your yard turns out!

  12. crazyasiankid on 05/04/2010:

    Morgan…. YOU ARE A DESIGNER A GOOD ONE @ THAT … You dont know me but I love you been stalking you here for a while…Mo HAA HA Ha hahhahhahah

  13. Amanda on 05/04/2010:

    Nice Sketchup skills… and landscape design! Well done. Can’t wait to see pictures!

  14. dani on 05/04/2010:

    looks great!
    this probably goes without saying, but if you do go with the blake-dollahite-type-gate, you might want to give your gate a wooden handle. or something you can grab when it’s hot.

  15. JJ on 05/04/2010:

    It is gd beautiful. Which version of sketchup do you use? I am going to get this thing and go crazy tonight.

  16. THE BRICK HOUSE on 05/04/2010:

    the free one!

  17. Airika on 05/05/2010:

    I really like where you have created an outdoor eating area. I feel like a door out to that side would be a nice addition. Maybe out of the scary bathroom? Or the end of the kitchen?

  18. Airika on 05/05/2010:

    Oh and this landscape sketchup kind of reminds me of something from my favorite game!

  19. stefanie on 05/05/2010:

    dear god this is awesome.

  20. Airika on 05/05/2010:

    I feel like if I cross your lawn all of those bushes will stack up and chase me like this:

  21. nick klaus on 05/05/2010:

    The plan looks like a winner! Can’t wait to see it happen.

  22. John on 05/05/2010:

    Looks Great!, You got some great Sketchup Skill. So you’re doing an outdoor dining set on your south side? I thought you were doing the reflcting pool/lap pool there. You probably don’t need even that many plants. Those you chose have nice sculptural qualities.

  23. ModFruGal on 05/05/2010:

    Nice…boy, your yard will really rock. Planted blue fescue last week…it will look great in your desertscape. Super j of the Kangaroo Paw. No need to weld if you go hog…just good wire cutters…but the slats are SO great looking.

  24. gfxfan on 05/05/2010:

    That’s quite O.K.

  25. Alisa on 05/05/2010:

    I love the plants you’ve chosen. The Palo Verde is one of my favorite trees. On a recent visit to Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, however, I saw a drought tolerant tree I love even more–the Boojum. I think it goes swell with MCM. Check out some images on Google.
    I haven’t been reading your blog for long. I’m still trying to figure out how you ended up in Hemet.
    Keep the great posts coming (and be kind to Iggy),

  26. hello on 05/06/2010:

    beautiful sketchup model!

  27. Yolanda on 05/06/2010:

    You should probably know that Mexican Feathergrass spreads like wildfire if you don’t behead the clumps before the seeds drop. The babies are pretty too, but pulling them up is just kinda high maintenance, and effs with your mulch aesthetic.

    If I only had the time to learn sketchup. Your skills are awesome!

    What do your nabes think? (doubt that you care…)

  28. erin@designcrisis on 05/06/2010:

    Welding is easier than gardening… that shit is hard work!

    But it’s going to look amazing when you’re done. Love all your choices, although I have to agree with Yolanda about the feathergrass. You could do another muhly type grass if the reseeding will bother you.

  29. boola on 05/07/2010:

    The wire grids are about $50-$60 for 5’x8′ if you go with raw steel (which will rust) at the fabricator down the street from me in SF (used for trellis in my backyard). Learning to spot weld would be easypeasy but actually getting the grid to line up perfectly at such a large scale would be a serious pain if you don’t have a major shop setup.

  30. Tami on 05/10/2010:

    Cool, but the thing I can’t get around is the path straight up to the door: why? It seems pointless. The pavers are spot on, however, for your aesthetic. Try using them out to the drive instead and do something less half-and-half with the front yard. Great sculptural plants. Try not to turn them into the war between the states.

  31. bianca on 05/17/2010:

    i really like where you are headed. are you sure you wanna do a palo verde tree? jap. maple still a runner up? i love the BIG boulder in the back. some one is gonna need a fork lift!!

  32. jeannette on 07/19/2010:

    as i’ve mentioned, it’s going to cost me close to $20K to get the 110 degree stone mulch out from under the 60 year old trees and the new 10 yr olds that the POs installed. it is killing the trees. i’d check out your fescue installation with a xeriscape expert. no reason to spend money on stone to kill the plants.

  33. Rebecca on 06/05/2012:

    Hi, you posted this a LONG time ago. But I found it while searching for dg and mid-century modern. We need to fix up our yard after construction devastation. Looks really good.

  34. Bree on 03/08/2014:

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    Thanks for the inspiration. My husband and I really enjoy your blog!

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  36. Bree on 10/27/2014:

    We discovered Sketchup through your blog and it helped us to build our DWR American Modern bed. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

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