By ditching the lawn and turning their yard into a series of outdoor rooms, a couple finds themselves living alfresco.
As Liz and Peter Keenan can attest, downsizing can have its upside. Four years ago, with their teenage daughter, the couple moved from their large home—which had a pool and sprawling lawn—to a smaller house in their Pacific Palisades, California, neighborhood. With the move came a chance to create a yard that fit their new way of life. “It became more about lounging outside with our friends,” says Liz. “We didn’t need lawn for the kids—and didn’t want the boring look of it. Or the maintenance.”
They hired architect Dane Twichell and landscape architect Rob Steiner to overhaul their new place, a corner lot with expanses of lawn and concrete. “With a smaller house, we needed outdoor spaces that would become extensions of it,” says Liz. To that end, Twichell dismantled some interior walls of the 1950s house and installed French doors off two rooms. Then Steiner designed a tree-shaded lounge off the living room and a dining patio off the kitchen. Throughout the yard, he planted low-water natives—“It’s the right thing to do here,” says Peter—and strategically placed trees for privacy from the street.
“It’s better than what we had,” says Liz. “We’re outside all the time now. And when the succulents bloom, it’s magic.”
Design Architect: Dane Twichell; twichellstudio.com. Landscape Architect: Rob Steiner;