Lakewood Ranch

Long Beach, CA, 2008

The Lakewood Ranch site is a residential back yard located in the Lakewood Rancho Estates of Long Beach, California. Cliff May and Chris Choate, noted designer and architect of the contemporary California ranch home, designed the community in the 1950s.

The primary function of the garden is to seamlessly unite indoor and outdoor spaces and activities. Both active and leisurely activities are equally important site uses.

The conceptual narrative is based on a gradient of material decomposition – solid and organic materials are gradually interwoven. Language of forms convey a vertical rhythm of mass that is offset by elongated strands of horizontal planes.

Elements include a patio and lawn for active recreation. Passive recreation is encouraged by creating an alcove with an L-shaped seat wall for conversation, a cor-ten steel partition, and plants. A cantilevered bench juts out of the existing masonry wall and runs the length of the lawn. Material decomposition is conveyed by an L-shaped seat wall that transitions from solid concrete, to a hybrid paver of concrete and grass, finally to a lawn. Gravel acts as a visual elastic and submergence for the varying heights of concrete solids. Plants are arranged in swaths. Golden Bamboo hugs the alcove whilst providing shade and privacy for the space. Birds of Paradise and Dichondra occupy either side of the plinth-like-step to and from the house. Lawn fades into the patio and alcove via the concrete and grass hybrid pavers.