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Angular and open, outdoor room saves views. Landscape architect Garrett Eckbo made the most of his "unusable" slope.

Angular and open, outdoor room saves views Fit a "folly" into your garden, and the picturesque outdoor room might solve several problems at once. That was landscape architect Garrett Eckbo's thinking when he designed this angular, almost abstract, roughly 8- by 12-foot structure for his own rear garden in Berkeley.

He wanted to accomplish three things: capture outdoor living space on a steep and otherwise unsuable downhill slope, distract the eye from the prominent roof line of a house on the lot below, and take advantage of a wide-open view toward San Francisco Bay.

The redwood platform is supported on 4-by-4 post anchored to two retaining walls; for added strength under the middle of the deck, a row of 4-by-8 beams rests on concrete footings. The 2-by-4 decking is laid over 2-by-6 joists hung off the beams.

Overhad, cross-lapped 4-by-6 beams with rounded ends (cut with a jigsaw) rest in a diamond pattern on a frame of 4-by-4s that sit on top of 6-inch-diameter peeler poles. With its strong diagonals, this sketchy trellis accentuates sight lines toward the bay view. The framework's openness also allows glimpses into and through the gazebo from the living room on the slope above it--an effective distraction from the neighboring roof.

A built in seat tucks into the bank along the rear of the platform. It's bolted directly to the wood-and-concrete retaining wall. Angled boards provide back support. Landscape contractor Richard Tomaselli worked out many of the structural details on the job.

For an interview with Garrett Eckbo, see page 140.
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Date:May 1, 1991
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