Tropical Retreat - Mill Valley, CA

Only half a block from downtown Mill Valley, this Himalayan-style house is nestled deep in a grove of redwoods. Overgrown plants and trees had taken over, but the worn out soil meant they were no longer vibrant. The garden lacked a sense of cohesion. Part of a stream crossed their property but ended abruptly. They wanted to keep a sense of the tropics, without feeling like they were lost in a jungle.

We started by amending the soil and saving the older, more established plants. By bringing in plants with tropical foliage, we developed the sense of the tropics, but added an undercurrent of serenity. Strategic pruning opened up circulation patterns in the garden, creating spaces of calm. We routed the stream to lead to a large pond, creating a bog garden and a habitat for fish. Installing a large entrance stone at the bath house and stream crossing stones adds a playful feeling as well as an eastern flair.