The old and the new can coexist happily in a well-planned garden.
For a 1920s San Mateo Tudor-style residence, horticulturalist Chris Jacobsen of GardenArt Group brought new elements into play with original features that had existed for decades.
“There was an old swimming pool that the owner made smaller, to do more entertaining,” says Jacobsen, a landscape designer in the Bay Area and beyond for more than 30 years and author of 1994’s “A Different Shade of Green,” which presaged the green movement in California gardening.
Jacobsen’s focus was to reconstruct the garden to complement a classic, historic home and welcome guests with a convivial experience.
He introduced features and plantings to bring styles, preferences and eras together in various conversation and relaxation spots.
He designed and built a new outside kitchen replete with grill and stove. He created an outdoor foyer with a table supported by tone-on-tone roof slates and placed a potted bromeliad atop.
He devised and created an outdoor fireplace.
Jacobsen enhanced the old-warm charm of flagstone around the pool, matching the original rock-work in new patio and pathways. He masked an “ugly, falling-down wall” with new, light green, vertical latticework screens that add to the visual energy of the arbor-portico.
In reworking the lawn, Jacobsen maintained the elegance and symmetry of formal configurations, and added low, retaining walls of flagstone and cement. A large ball was placed at the end of each.
Jacobsen used traditional plantings of podocarpus and English laurel, and continued the English theme with boxwood hedges.
He “borrowed the neighbors’ trees” for a side backdrop, and added back and side excitement with a parade of Australian tree ferns, yew, evergreens and pines.
By the side of a dining area, a Japanese maple stands in dramatic contrast.
The overall effect is open, calm and in sync; everything works together.