Modern Landscape Design for a Mountain View Eichler Home
Introducing the Space
In today’s landscape design challenge, we are visiting another finished outdoor living space for an Eichler home in Mountain View. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll know that we consider ourselves to be specialists when it comes to outdoor design for Eichler homes. We have long been inspired by the timeless midcentury architecture and the iconic design of these historics homes, and are passionate about creating outdoor living spaces that measure up.
The owners of today’s Eichler home were looking to update their backyard and front yard spaces. On their wish list were standard features like a fire pit and outdoor kitchen, as well as more unique items such as a covered outdoor gym. They needed the space to feel functional and balanced, with plenty of room for entertaining without leaving behind a green, natural feeling that would allow the space to remain in harmony with the design of their home.
After thoroughly discussing the clients’ visions for the space, we hit the drawing boards and came back with two distinct design concepts.
Above, you see Concept A. One of the first things you will notice in looking at designs for this space is the unique shape of the overall lot. Instead of the typical linear, rectangular layout, home was built on a triangular plot of land, leaving three distinct surrounding spaces for the home.
Starting in the backyard, the homeowners would step out of their home and onto a large paver patio. From here, they could step left to their new covered gym and sport turf, or continue straight to stand beneath a brand new custom pergola that shelters the new kitchen and firepit.
Continuing right, the clients step off the pavers and onto a large flagstone patio inlaid that carries them across to the far side of the yard. In the right hand corner, new raised vegetable beds outline the perimeter of the property. Along the right side of the home, large trees shelter a seating area situated on top of paved slabs.
In the front yard, a new paver driveway cuts a funky and functional line, flanked by a gate on either side. The right gate leads to the seating described above, while the left gate ushers the homeowners into a series of concrete steppers. Following this path, the front yard is fitted with a new composite deck, landscaping, and water feature.
The second design, Concept B, can be seen above. While this secondary design features many similarities to the first, it presents new shapes and places a larger emphasis on curving, circular lines. As in the first design, the homeowners step out the back entrance of the home and onto a large paver patio. The gym from Concept A remains in its original location and form, as well as the covered kitchen.
However, the paver patio has been extended, forming a large circular space anchored in the middle by a fire pit. Where the first design featured a flagstone patio, Concept B opts for turf bisected by a small, curving pathway that leads the homeowners to their raised vegetable beds arranged in parallel lines.
In the front and side yards, the function and intention of the first design direction remains. However, small changes distinguish the first rending from the second. Instead of stepper, the pathway leading from the driveway is a gently curving paver pathway, leading to a patio finished with contrasting feature pavers and a water feature fountain. The perimeter of the property is finished with new landscaping that provides dimension, color, and privacy to the outdoor space.
After viewing both design directions, the homeowners were excited about the possibilities for their Eichler property. Once they realized what was possibly, they decided that they wanted to expand on the initial designs. With a green light from the clients, we went back to the drawing board to create a final, elevated version of the backyard living space.
Much of what is featured in Concept A has been retained in this final revision. The front yard space remains the same, with a large paver driveway, concrete steppers, and composite decking. On the right side of the house, the tree-covered seating area remains. However, in the backyard, several notable changes are immediately noticeable.
While the paver patio is still presented in this final direction, it has transformed from a single elevation patio, to a two level living space. Stepping out of the back of the home, the clients find themselves on the upper, or ground, level of the space. From here, they can walk forward and descend down a wide series of stairs into the sunken outdoor living space.
In the left corner, the covered gym has been relocated, replaced with a large pergola that shelters the backyard’s new outdoor kitchen, bar, and living space. Also in the sunken patio is the dining area, centered between two series of concrete steppers. Moving toward the right side of the yard is the fire pit, surrounded by seat walls that provide plenty of space for family and friends to gather. From here, the homeowners step back up another set of stairs and emerge once again at ground level, where the covered gym and sports turf have been relocated.
After making these changes, these Eichler home clients were fully on board. With the initial designs confirmed, we moved to the next step in the design process–3D renderings.
Once the 2D design concepts were approved, we moved to bring them to life digitally. This stage of the process is especially exciting as the homeowners are able to get a true sense of what their backyard living space will look like after construction has finished.
Beginning in the backyard, you can see above the two level space proposed in the final design concept. Stepping out onto the new, TechoBloc paver patio, the homeowners take a few steps before descending a unique staircase into their sunken living area. From this vantage point, you see the pergola covered living space. Next to it, the dining space is positioned atop the aforementioned patio island, done in contrasting TechoBloc pavers.
Looking from the left side of the yard, you see the difference in elevation between the upper patio space and the sunken living space. In the distance, the covered gym peeks out from behind lush landscaping. Along the perimeter of the space, a fence and new retaining wall contain privacy plantings that add style and pops of organic color to this modern design.
Looking at the space from above, you can really get a good look at the descending staircase. You’ll notice that in the series of three steps, the top step is a composite wood, while the rest are concrete. This is intentional. Upon further inspection, you will notice that the top of the wooden step is level with the height of the seat wall surrounding the fire pit. This choice allows the top step of the staircase to function as more intentional seating square footage, without reducing any access points to the lower half of the space. It also creates continuity, drawing the eye around the sunken patio from one ends of the yard to the other.
Moving into the front yard, you see the composite deck shown in the final design concept brought to life. Not only does this provide additional seating, but it also is compartmentalized away from the hustle and bustle of the main living space. In the back of the frame, rendered above, you see the concrete steppers nestled among colorful plantings, leading toward the front gate and new paver driveway.
The Finished Space
It is always our goal for a finished space to be as close to the final design concepts as possible. Sometimes, unforeseen obstacles arise and changes are made between the final rendering and the final reveal. However, for this Mountain View Eichler home, what you saw in the 3D renderings is what materialized.
Starting at the front of the home, you see the new large paver driveway. The geometric TechoBloc pavers create a sleek, dynamic finish to the front of the home that compliments the sleek architectural lines of the Eichler. From the driveway, you step through either gate into the main living spaces.
Through the left gate, you step onto a series of concrete steppers as rendered in the original designs. Seen here above, these concrete steppers are inlaid into beach pebble, and cushioned on all sides by warm toned mulch and natural grasses. The composite deck is finished and brought to life, providing peaceful seating space away from the main living area at the back of the home.
Proceeding into the backyard living space, you see the sunken patio, steps, and perimeter seat wall. The new living area and outdoor waterfall style bar are sheltered by a custom pergola with recessed lighting and an outdoor ceiling fan. The same TechoBloc pavers from the driveway continue into the backyard space, tying the designs together.
Looking at the space from the back edge of the property, you see the new custom fire pit, finished with concrete and warm wood slats, echoing the wood of the pergola and fencing. Here, you can see how outdoor lighting has been used to highlight design features such as landscaping, while also providing enhanced safety and navigability to the staircase and pathways. The long, linear lines of the design enhance the sleek lines of the classic Eichler design, mimicking the low profile roof and brick facade of the home.
Taking an aerial look at the finished space, you are easily able to see the unique seat wall brought to life. The top step is finished with a composite wood at standard seating height, meaning that guests can rest anywhere along the perimeter of the design comfortably. The long, continuous line also creates a clear border, making the sunken living space feel separated and singular amidst the rest of the backyard.
When all was said and done, this Eichler home was left with an outdoor living space that not only seamlessly complimented the timeless design of the home, but is as functional as it is beautiful. From a funky staircase doubling as additional seating, to a serene auxiliary deck and lush landscaping, this at-home outdoor oasis is just another addition to our ever growing list of Eichler projects.