Topanga Play Garden

Location: Topanga Canyon, California        /        Completed: 2011 – present        /        Scope: Design, Hardscape, Planting, Irrigation, Maintenance

Located atop a hillside in Topanga Canyon, this garden was initially composed of fragmented major features. Our first objective of the master plan was to seamlessly join the spaces and create fluidity throughout the site. Work was completed in phases to integrate native plants, a sense of playfulness as well as safety into an intimate family garden, terraced along the hillside.

In Phase 1, entertaining and play spaces were carved out of an expansive upper terrace to define an intimate, yet active outdoor room. The composition utilized old-growth olive trees to provide intimacy and patina. We integrated soft decomposed granite and flagstone to offset the existing tile work and used a border of citrus pots to frame the spaces.

Nestled into the hillside below the upper terrace, we then integrated the large pool area in Phase 2. It was designed with the homeowners’ request to provide an expansive lounge area, complete with furniture and a connection to the existing pergola terrace. The design resulted in a camp-like, rustic atmosphere with modern comforts. Local artisans at Malibu Ceramic Works further customized the space with their one-of-a-kind tile designs for the pool and tables.

Completing the master plan was the terraced playground. For Phase 3, designed with a mixture of reclaimed play structures and native planting throughout the wild hillside, this play space brought together the family garden concept and further promoted the ideas of intimacy, safety and play our design had set out to achieve. 


Photos courtesy of Anne Dakota Hammond Photography