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Mid-Century Makeover

Los Angeles, CA

Featured in the New York Times Magazine as a cover story, this Los Feliz compound was designed by Eugene Kinn Choy, AIA, in 1952. LGLA's updated landscape design for the current owners, a young family with two small children, reshaped their exterior living space to provide defined areas for outdoor dining that expanded their living space. The back of the property consisted of a pool, a steep slope and retaining wall, drainage problems and a monoculture of Algerian Ivy. The existing retaining wall was demolished and rebuilt with increased height to meet city standards and the pool retained. New concrete steps and a terrace were created to float within bands of gravel, which provide needed groundwater catchment and infiltration. The dining and pool areas, visible through floor to ceiling glass, are unified by the simple rock-band detail on the ground plane. LGLA transformed the slope above the retaining wall into a tapestry of colorful drought tolerant Agaves, succulents and shrubs, and softened the wall with Trailing Rosemary and numerous pots of richly colored Aenoiums. The subject of The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Garden Dialogues, it epitomizes the best of mid-century indoor-outdoor living with a fresh interpretation of sustainable plant material and comfortable, easy living.