Water Wise

Sinbad Creek is a modern house in Sunol, Calif. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

It sits on a west-facing, 5.3 acre site. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

There are views in three directions--hillside, canyon, and mountains. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

The home's landscape program is drought-resistant. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Satisfying the owners' requirements for native plants involved compromise. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Those golden California hills of song and legend? Many of those grasses were brought over by the Spaniards. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

A mix of Atlas fescue, Mexican feather grass, blue oat grass, and Berkeley sedge work in combo. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Hardscaping includes integral sandwash finish concrete that helps manage runoff. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Huettl planted herbs like rosemary, lavender, and yarrow, which are deerproof and drought-tolerant. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

A weather-based water controller mounted in the sun sends signals about how intensively to water. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Deep, cantilevered overhangs manage sunlight and contribute to the home's crisp outlines. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

Huettl started with an empty gravel lot, working with the architects to come up with landscaping that met the owners' needs while making sense for the site. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

This water feature is lined with an 8-inch-thick shell that accommodates thermal expansion and earth movement. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

The landscaping wasn't so much of a native restoration as an "idealization of the regional landscape," says Huettl. Landscape Architect: Huettl Landscape Architecture, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Architect: Swatt|Miers, Emeryville, Calif., Builder: K. Daniel Kenny & Company, San Ramon, Calif.

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