2013 Awards

Design: Residential, Single Family Home

Merit Award

Sinbad Creek House
Sunol, CA
Huettl Landscape Architecture, Inc.
Lead Landscape Architect: Joseph Huettl

12.	The plan view shows the outdoor spaces, landscape elements and planting concept surrounding the home. Diagonal swaths of Lavender alternate with various clump grasses – a pattern that subtly mimics the native sagebrush bands that follow tilted sedimentary outcrops.
An evening view of the rear yard highlights how spaces are well-lit near the residence, while light levels closer to the natural areas are lowered.
10.	Concrete stepping pads create consistency throughout the site, while changes in surrounding materials, of Mexican beach pebbles and Ipé wood, create diversity. Yuccas, rushes and a rain chain of contrasting color provide simple, sculptural elements in the space.
The water feature is central to the breakfast patio. Floating concrete pads, low to the water connect users with the water.
8.	In the active living areas, rectilinear paths and walls maintain the relationship to the house and a core-ten steel edge creates a vertical transition, whereas natural rocks edge the winding concrete and crushed rock path up the natural hillside.
7.	The water feature complements the topography with a low retaining wall to maintain a strong link with the surrounding, natural hillside and the steel spout reproduces a natural seep or spring emerging from the hillside. Pacific Chorus Frogs seasonally add their voices to the sound of falling water.
The raised terrace creates interest with level changes and a low wall, yet maintains the connection to the lower patio allowing for fluid movement between the two spaces.
The stepping platforms and the rear breakfast patio, which connects to the dining room, float above the water feature and are edged by a variety of elements and materials.
The horizontal lines of the house are complemented by the open grassland of Yarrows, Lavenders and varying grasses, which add color and texture as the seasons change.
An entry path leads the homeowners and their guests to a seating area that highlights the front entry. The walkway guides guests through a foreground of grasses and middle ground oaks then leads them around to discover views of the distant hills of Sunol.
Overall view of residence and the backyard.
Evening view of residence framed by grasses, yarrows and lavenders set in the backdrop of an oak-studded Northern California hillside.

This Northern California residence is located in a canyon of oak-studded grassland, chaparral and remnant olive groves. The design for the clients, whose hobbies include hiking and horseback riding, was not so much an attempt at recreating a native landscape as it was to create an idealized and enhanced version of the regional landscape that would be successful, easy to maintain, and tie the house to the site. The simplicity of the hardscape was designed to complement the house and the surrounding regional landscape. A series of integrally-colored concrete paths, flush hardwood decking and a walk-across water feature, extend the interior rooms out to the landscape. All of this was accomplished on a fairly tight budget. The new plantings are dominated by various grass species that reflect the adjacent hillside, non-native grassland, but in an easier-to-maintain and more idealized form.
Photographs 1, 7, 11 by Russel Abraham Photography. All others by HLA.