Nestled into a downslope of the Orinda Hills sits an unusual abode evocative of an earlier era. Reminiscent of a Carmel Cottage design, this property provides space for a variety of outdoor activities and terraced living spaces. Constraints for property development on hillsides are not unusual for the East Bay hills, but to integrate multi-use programming into a seamless outdoor floor plan takes some creative vision.

The job of implementing the homeowners’ vision fell to landscape architects Camp and Camp Associates Inc. The homeowners wanted areas for dining, large gatherings, bocce ball, an edible garden, or to simply stroll through the grounds along the many garden paths. Camp and Camp assembled a team of contractors and horticulturists that was responsible for the high-quality installation, as well as the continuing maintenance of the property.

The main home pad hosts the primary residence and two carriage houses. Subtle elevational changes respond to the natural sloping features of the site. The resulting compound of structures creates a welcoming motor court and sets the stage for the entry’s fountain court. The fireplace lounge and fountain courtyard provide opportunities for both passive and social activities. Cobblestone pavers and green driveway extensions resolve the requirements for ample guest parking. Rich ground plane materials and colorful plantings support the marriage of striking architectural forms and the surrounding garden. Moving to the rear yard one encounters a formidable downslope requiring significant terracing. The combination of sensitive contouring, dry laid stone walls, boulders, and structural walls allows for the generous outdoor terraces.

The gardens were planted and are maintained by Proscape, while the fountain, pool and hardscape were installed by The Pool Company. In the current trend of modernism and mid-century retro design, this was an amazing chance to return to “Old World” asymmetric design principles linking the home’s floor plan with the outside living areas. 

Camp and Camp Associates, Inc. is a landscape architecture, urban design and land planning firm located in Walnut Creek, California.