Featured Project: Rock Canyon

Our clients for this project first contacted us to create a landscape plan for the front of their home that would address the eroding ditch running the entire length of the property front. Taking into consideration the clients’ objectives, we designed a comprehensive landscape plan for the site broken into several implementation phases. The first phase shown here involved renovating the existing ditch into a low-water waterway that featured the home’s front complemented by expanding the planting beds, and establishing a sense of arrival with a new entrance patio including seat walls, night lighting for ambiance and pathways enhancing the homes front presentation.

The design solutions developed for the waterway needed to create sustainable erosion control, maintain a positive grade from the west to the east end of the waterway, integrate an existing flagstone bridge and present an aesthetically pleasing front extent for the home. To achieve these design goals, a large scale dry creekbed was created using large granite boulders, low water plant material suitable to our climate and rock slurry comprised of three different rock sizes. A sustainable erosion control was maintained with the installation of large three ton granite boulders in an alternating pattern embedded into the grade with ornamental grasses, catmint, Russian sage, sedum and delasperma and other grasses planted in between the boulders. Prior to boulder placement the base of the drainage ditch was excavated to rough grade and then compacted once the boulders were in place to create a positive water flow from the west to east. A final application of rock slurry gave a natural dry creek bed finish to the waterway. The finished large scale dry creek bed was both functional and aesthetically pleasing creating focal point at the front of the home.

Rock Canyon drainage ditch before

Rock Canyon drainage ditch after



Rock Canyon boulder


Holistically, the design approach was to create a functional waterway at the front of the home integrated with a formal entrance and entertainment space. To achieve the integration of the waterway to a formal entrance and entertainment space, hardscape pathways were integrated between the front waterway and the entrance to the home with an enlarged patio framed by seat walls centered on the homes entrance. In general, patterns of material were tied to the homes country style and color; areas were defined by extending lines from the home into the landscape. In all areas of the design, function, space, flow patterns, material selection and plant palette were evaluated to produce a plan that was at once formal, entertaining and sustainable.

The following design solutions were applied to the site to achieve the outlined client goals consistent with the opportunities and constraints presented by the site.

  • Created formal entrance to the home.
  • Integrated functional and comfortable areas that tied into the existing structures.
  • Plant palette provided multi-season color, interest and texture with low maintenance.
  • Developed an integrated plan for waterway at the front of the home to control erosion, maintain positive water flow and create an aesthetically pleasing front extent.
  • Integrated a series of design solutions that created aesthetically pleasing and functional flow patterns between the spaces created.
  • Designed integrated outdoor lighting for renovated areas of the landscape.
  • Created an extension to the driveway to improve garage access.

Rock Canyon front before


Rock Canyon front After


In the entrance area, the design goals looked to create an interconnected series off paths converging on a central patio with dual function as a entertainment space and an upscale entrance. From early on in the design development I visualized a patio area framed by seat walls set into the space between the garage wall and front west bay windows. This central space would allow the family a visual connection to the children riding bikes and playing games outside, while the seat walls would define a boundary between the public and private space of the home. Additionally, landscape lighting would allow for subtle ambient lighting enhancing the front formal appearance of the home at night and accenting the homes central front façade, a two story bay window. The completed front entrance patio created depth, interest and intrigue while functionally serving as both formal entry and casual entertainment space.