Beach House, Malibu

The goal of our landscape design was to create an exuberant yet sustainable garden for a newly constructed modern home designed by Michael Palladino of Richard Meier and Partners. The project involved tying together three oceanfront lots opposite a strip mall on Carbon Beach in Malibu. Originally the client wanted bright green turf, which was inappropriate in the context. The most challenging role was to guide the client to the decision to use dry beach sand as a ground cover. The sand is planted with flowing ornamental grasses that mimic the California hillsides.

The big idea was to use the Japanese concept of “borrowed landscape” as a framing device. The fountain and lap pool have an animated connection with the ocean, constantly reflecting its surface. The garden captures views of the adjacent hills and utilizes drought-and-salt-tolerant plant materials to provide color, texture, and movement. We wanted to demonstrate to other property owners that viable, usable, beautiful gardens can be created and maintained with minimal water.