The Spanish-style courtyard comes to Corte Madera – Marin Independent Journal

The Spanish-style courtyard comes to Corte Madera - Marin Independent Journal

Fred and Carol Schwartz grew up in Marin, which is in Mill Valley and he or she is in Novato. In 1980, they moved to the Boston space the place they lived in a home on the ocean with an enormous yard, a big entrance porch, a widows’ stroll and a backyard.

“That is the place we discovered to like landscaping and gardening,” says Fred Schwartz. “After all, winters within the Northeast are very harsh, so we needed to be taught a brand new gardening method.”

That wasn’t all.

“We additionally introduced a few of our California roads with us to that quiet Yankee neighborhood,” he says. “To the horror of our neighbors, we put in an outside scorching tub on our aft deck. Keep in mind now, this was 1980.”

The couple put in a big koi pond with a waterfall, and loved seeing the fish swimming alongside the pond to greet them at any time when they handed by.

“We lived there for 18 years, and the neighbors nonetheless discuss with us as Fred and Carol from California,” he says sarcastically.

In 1998, they returned to Marin and settled in Corte Madeira.

“We dwell in a typical L-shaped California ranch home, which has your common driveway to the entrance door and a water-filled garden that by no means appears to be like good,” he says. “We determined {that a} huge change was anticipated.”

Now, retired basic contractor Schwartz and his spouse, who works as a pupil incapacity applications and providers specialist at Marin School, found that as a result of they each had technical skills and had been detail-oriented, they had been as much as the problem.

“We knew this was going to take a while and thought,” he says. “Between us and some glasses of wine, we got here up with some attention-grabbing concepts.”

Impressed by an idea they noticed in Sundown Journal, they envisioned a brand new backyard designed in a Spanish-style patio paired with tropical aptitude. And so in 2009, the Schwartz household started transforming their 60-by-30-square-foot entrance backyard house.

Images by Fred Schwartz

Hardenbergia, or Completely satisfied Wanderer vine, is a feast for bees through the winter months.

“It took a couple of years and quite a lot of effort to get so far, however now we’ve got a entrance yard that serves as an additional layer of privateness and additional residing house,” he says. “There’s a seating space surrounded by floor cowl and tree ferns, palm bushes and dwarf Japanese maples.”

Stucco-clad concrete partitions encompass the house, and the trail and patio are lined in a heat slab stone. Mexican tiles adorn the steps and entrance door landings.

Fred Schwartz designed the entrance gate to resemble the one seen in a Spanish fortress, handpicking pure redwood heartwood, then ending the gate with eight layers of teak oil, and adorning it with black wrought iron {hardware}.

“When you enter the entrance gate, you’re shocked as a result of you possibly can’t see (the courtyard backyard) from the surface,” he says. The same old response is, ‘Nice! “

Low voltage lighting illuminates the backyard through the night hours and the water fountain attracts bathing birds. And naturally, there’s a koi pond.

“It is very small in comparison with what we had in New England, however the fish nonetheless see us after we’re strolling by and need to be fed,” he says.

The pair labored with Ian Magnus of IM Gardens in Mill Valley to create the backyard they envisioned, one with attention-grabbing vegetation in a palette of inexperienced and different earth tones, with some daring accents of colour, and vegetation that may thrive within the house that vary from shade to full solar.

Fred and Carol Schwartz replaced the Corte Madeira garden with a Spanish-style patio.  (Photo by Fred Schwartz)

Images by Fred Schwartz

Fred and Carol Schwartz changed the Corte Madeira backyard with a Spanish-style patio.

Among the many vegetation they selected had been large chook of paradise, Tasmanian fern, queen coconut palm, hydrangea, sage, Japanese maple, canna lily ‘Tropicanna Gold’, golden sedge, Australian tree fern, dwarf date palm, dwarf false orange, philodendron and hostas.

“When the vacations come across the neighborhood, it’s entertained by the ‘completely satisfied wanderer’ (Hardenbergia) vine that covers a trellis throughout the entrance of the home and stays in full bloom by means of January,” he says. “Once we stroll out the entrance door, the yard is actually ringing out from all of the honeybees benefiting from the winter blooms.”

Two drip irrigation stations assist vegetation – within the solar or within the shade. The timer works on a proportion system and is predicated on the quantity of water advisable by the Marin Municipal Water District’s weekly e-mail.

Now that a lot of the work within the backyard has been accomplished and the duties are primarily about upkeep, he’s proud of the end result, saying that the backyard makes them completely satisfied. And he has some recommendation for fellow gardeners in Marin.

“Do not take this lovely spot the place we dwell without any consideration,” he says. “Get pleasure from working in your yard. Right now, different individuals in different places are shoveling their snow lanes in order that they’ll drive to work in nearly freezing climate.”


If in case you have a gorgeous or attention-grabbing Marin backyard or a newly designed Marin home, I might like to find out about it.

Please ship an e-mail describing one (or each), what you want essentially the most about it, and a photograph or two. I’ll publish one of the best of them within the subsequent columns. Your title shall be printed and also you have to be over 18 years previous and a Marin resident.

PJ Bremier writes on residence, backyard, design, and leisure subjects each Saturday. She may be contacted at PO Field 412, Kentfield 94914 or at [email protected]

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