Mention the phrase "Earth-friendly," and the words "stylish" and "livable" don't necessarily leap to mind. But two Los Angeles homeowners created a garden haven that is all those things.
"If you live in the city, you need the balance of nature to stay sane," says architect Gabe Gelbart.
That's why instead of expanding their 1,250-square-foot Spanish colonial revival home ― even though there was ample room on the lot to do so ― Gelbart and landscape designer Paul Rhoadzhagen decided to keep the house compact and let the garden shine, providing plenty of outdoor living nooks, colorful plantings that require little water, and lessons on incorporating environmentally sound materials and practices into the landscape.
Rhoadzhagen uses organic fertilizers to feed his plants, and vegetal scraps from the kitchen to feed the soil.
By choosing plants with modest water needs and installing drip irrigation, he found it was less of a challenge to keep the garden looking good.
The lush and inviting greenbelt around the house provides inspiration for gardeners everywhere. Says Gelbart, "Living this way is the best thing you can do for the Earth."
Design: Warwick Group, Beverly Hills (310/556-7711)