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They re-landscaped in three directions.

They re-landscaped in three directions

A three-part remodel redefined the entry and created two airy outdoor rooms that recapture the usable garden space of this small house in Palo Alto, California. Owners Mavea and John Neale gained expanded living and entertaining space, more privacy from the street and neighbors, a low-maintenance garden, and sun control.

Designed by landscape architect Jack Buktenica, the remodel starts unobtrusively in the front. Formerly, the entry had been deeply recessed between a one-car garage and the house. Buktenica brought the door forward and extended the roof over it well below eave height to accentuate the cottage scale.

The understated entry contrasts with the two bright, high-ceilinged outdoor rooms. Guests see the first of these partially covered spaces when they enter the house: a side courtyard between the garage and a living room wing.

Steeply pitched 4-by-4s banded with alternating 1-by-2s and 1-by-4s rise 12 feet to a 4-by-12 beam spanning the space. The "roof' and fence shade the court and help block the view of the neighboring house.

The larger outdoor room fills most of what had been the back yard. Its flat "roof' is banded only above the living room windows, leaving the other horizontal beams to suggest an enclosed space.

The garden is divided into different zones: a spacious area covered with tiles and aggregate stepping pads; a small, elevated deck; and an in-ground spa with separate hot and cool sections.

Using the same equally spaced lath in both side and back areas adds continuity. A band of tiles runs close to the house, further tying the two areas together.

Photo: Remodel starts in front yard (1). Darker tone is trellis over side court (2) and rear yard (3)

Photo: 1. Before remodel (left), narrow drive led to garage and a house obscured byovergrown plants. After (right), widened drive with inset railroad ties doubles as entry walk. Lawn was replaced with a shallow, granite-covered depression and bordering ground cover. Railroad-tie sculpture alongside driveway adds visual interest and defines approach to front door

Photo: 2. Courtyard roof, which matches pitch of garage roof, rests on fence 6 1/2 feet in from property line. Seen from inside house (far right), fence and roof obscure view of neighbors. Spanning beam at top of lath rests on 4-by-4s rising through roof from wall plate

Photo: 3. Multipurpose rear garden has flat overhead roof of 4-by-6 joists resting on double 2-by-12s that flank 4-by-4 posts. Tile path running around house extends in front of built-in bench. Boulders and tree ferns break up graveled area. Corner of small deck (right) projects above hot-and-cold spa. Fence at rear repeats rhythm of overhead 1-by-2s and 1-by-4s
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Date:Oct 1, 1984
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