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DiMaggio Entry
This outdoor space develops a strong sense of entry between the front driveway and covered porch, while creating four distinct spaces—entry passage, Front Garden, side yard passage and Bedroom Garden, and Entry Courtyard.

The Program
Following our remodeling of their Kitchen, this client asked us to address the somewhat undistinguished entry to their cul-de-sac tract house in Alhambra. Nearly all of the existing hardscape was to remain—brick-and-concrete driveway, brick walk, low plaster walls, covered porch, and lantern plinth—but use these elements as a basis point to create a strong sense of entry and street presence while enhancing the passage between the side yard and street.

Design Challenges
The irregularly shaped lot, and the front setback requirements, necessitated obtaining design-review approval for a trellis structure within the front yard—however when designed as part of an entry and lighting element the solution was enthusiastically approved. The curved and shallow-angled property lines afforded unique spacial limitations—as did the small garden spaces adjacent to the driveway.


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Front Garden and Courtyard
Using the contemporary ranch-style vocabulary of the existing residence, a design aesthetic was developed that incorporated elements of contemporary, Craftsman, and Japanese sensibilities unifying them into a compositional whole. Primary and secondary pathways were developed, each with their own rhythms, change in direction, and contemplative elements—and plant selections, groupings, size, and relation to hardscape elements, all combine to create a unique sequence of experiences and vignettes.
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DiMaggio Entry: Main Entrance
Existing brick paving and low walls set the geometry and progression pattern to the front door—onto which was added a lantern-trellis and horizontal wood screening cap. A tobi-ishi inspired concrete pathway leads to the side yard, while a large Craftsman lantern was placed on the existing masonry plinth.
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DiMaggio Entry: View from Side Yard
The tobi-ishi inspired concrete paving pattern accommodates an angled approach to the side yard, with a concrete fountain and gravel garden placed near the front bedroom. Beyond, the entry trellis (left) is placed opposite a large monimi-ishi (viewing stone) that anchors the Front Garden.
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DiMaggio Entry: Entry Courtyard
Steel gates placed between the flanking lantern trellises separate the Entry Courtyard from the Front Garden. To the right, square ceramic pots placed on an ipe plinth and slightly raised above the entry path.
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DiMaggio Entry: Japanese Maple
The main anchoring element of the Front Garden is the Japanese Maple, placed opposite the trellis-lanterns. To the left is the monimi-ishi (viewing stone) with the tobi-ishi inspired pathway to the right. Elfin thyme as a ground cover adds scale and texture.
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DiMaggio Entry: Courtyard Pots
Three square ceramic pots are planted with asparagus ferns as a main canopy, with various dwarf succulents and ground covers below. The pots are placed on an ipe plinth, and uplit with bronze well lights.
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DiMaggio Entry: Entry Pots and Lantern
The red cedar framed trellis lanterns emit a warm glow from the mica panels. Each lantern is set atop a cedar sill capping the existing plaster walls. In the foreground, square ceramic pots develop rhythm and scale to the Entry Courtyard.
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DiMaggio Entry: Trellis Lanterns
The red-cedar framed trellis and trellis lanterns were finished in a light-body stain—and provide a dark contrast to the illuminated mica panels.
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DiMaggio Entry: Elephant Ear
Soft and delicate elephant ear is juxtaposed against small gravel ground cover.
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DiMaggio Entry: Bench and Table
A custom-designed steel and ipe bench and table create a seating area inside the existing front porch. The modular elements are designed to be used as a corner grouping or separated to become a small table for food or drinks.
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DiMaggio Entry: Entry Courtyard
The red cedar framed trellis and trellis lanterns are placed atop a red cedar sill running continuously atop the existing plaster low walls. Above the walls is a horizontal wood screen—adding a gentle horizontality to the entire composition.
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DiMaggio Entry: Wood Plinth
A wood plinth, raised two steps above the existing brick paving, is separated from the walkway by a strip planting of various succulents.
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DiMaggio Entry: Pot Planting
Beneath the canopy of the potted asparagus ferns are delicate groupings of dwarf succulents and ground covers, adding a bonsai sensibility of scale to the otherwise full-scale composition.



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Image Boards and Landscape Plan
As part of the Pre-Design process, Image Boards were developed that explored plant selection, hardscape, materials, texture, color, and compositional basics. We use this technique on all of our projects—whether large or small—and find that these images anchor our thought processes and guide our decision making.
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DiMaggio Entry: Image Board One
This board explored contemporary fencing and seating designs, paving patterns, and plant selections—and was used to develop a sensibility and proportioning relative to each of these aspects.
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DiMaggio Entry: Image Board Two
Similarly to Image Board One, a second set of vignettes explores sensibility and proportioning, and juxtaposes them against each other.
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DiMaggio Entry: Landscape Plan
This preliminary Landscape Plan was developed to show the relationship of the various components—walk ways and hardscape, plantings and placement, organization and rhythm. And, the difficult site constraints can be more fully appreciated. What's most enjoyable about this project is that each effect that we were trying to achieve not only was achieved, but has been commented upon by nearly everyone who has experienced the space—the owners, their friends, the mailman, the neighbors, etc.



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Special Thanks
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Joe Filkins of Filkins Construction for the beautiful flatwork and ipe plinths, Mick Kalmar of San Gabriel Valley Ornamental Iron Works for the gates, and to Peter Karrberg for the, frankly, breathtaking carpentry on the trellis, lanterns, and wall caps.

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