Design Prescription: Amy's San Diego Outdoor Space

Design Prescription: Amy's San Diego Outdoor Space

Tara Bellucci
Nov 25, 2015
(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

Name: Amy
Location: San Diego, CA
Room: Outdoor Space
Size: about 2/3 acres

This is an update from the #MakeoverAmerica road trip! We're traveling across the United States to tell people about Complete + Happy Home, and while we're at it, we're saving the country, one room at a time! Design Prescriptions are hour-long visits where Maxwell offers advice on what readers can do to improve their homes. Though we don't have "after" photos, we do encourage the homeowners to share their updates with all of us when they make them!

In San Diego, we visited with Amy, who needed some help outside. With a lot of land to work with, she wasn't sure where to start.

(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

Amy and her family moved into this San Diego home a year ago, and while the inside is lovingly decorated (no help needed there!), the outside could use some love. "It's a blank canvas, and with me working full time, a toddler and my husband recently retired from the USMC, we simply haven't had the time to address it," she says. "The grass is mostly dead and there are weeds everywhere, and the poorly laid flagstones are flipping up and we can't use that part at all. In SoCal we could totally be doing the whole indoor/outdoor living thing but we need HELP. HELP!"

The current yard
(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

The Problem:

Maxwell has been doling out design therapy since 2001, but this is his first yard! Up for the challenge, he starts by assessing the bones, breathing, heart, and head of the space. Basically, it's a blank canvas as Amy pointed out, and it all needs work.

Bones: The grass is dead and the flagstones are unusable, so we need some fixes here.

Breathing: With so much space not broken up into zones, energy just zooms on through, so the flow could use some thought.

Heart & Head: There's not much in the way of decor or personal touches out here. Amy has achieved these beautifully on the interior of her home, so we'll focus our prescription on the first two and leave these to her to fill in after.

(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

The Prescription:

At two-thirds acres, this is the largest challenge yet! The key when dealing with any large space, indoors or out, is to break it up. Maxwell proposes three zones: the deck and entertaining space, the the nature-focused yard, and the play area. Here's what they'll look like:

The proposed yard
(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

A sizable deck will give Amy and her family ample area to relax, entertain, and grill in true indoor/outdoor SoCal style. Since the slope of the lower yard makes it hard to utilize, extending the deck outward will maximize the usable area.

The deck would extend outward past the current fence.
(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

Area B requires the help of a landscaper, but some greenery and ground cover that's a mix of native plants and drought-tolerant grasses would make a great place to enjoy nature, and let the dogs to run around.

A stone path from the deck to the play area would run along the side of the house
(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

The play area (seen in the lead photo above) is staying put, but with a better path installed along the side of the house that will connect it to the side doors, and the deck in the back. The current flagstone is flipping up, and needs to be removed.

(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

We left Amy with a copy of Complete + Happy Home so she can continue her refresh. Thanks for letting us into your home (and your yard)!

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