Tag Archives: Katherine Spitz Associates

warm thoughts on formal gardens

Have I mentioned how hot it’s been lately?

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It’s the kind of heat that gives a boho plant nut a deeper appreciation of the cool, austere lines of a formal garden.

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A garden built not on the scaffolding of flowers but leaves, eschewing lush variety for lean repetition.

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It’s the kind of heat that makes the formal garden, that ancient response to dry climates, seem fresh and innovative again.

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Katherine Spitz’s garden, Mar Vista, California, 2012 (Katherine Spitz Associates)

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That’s how hot it’s been.

sit

Dear Chair, oh, how I love thee! I scored a couple garden chairs on sale recently, which pitched my low simmer of constant chair love back into a full boil. These are mostly photos of chairs and benches previously posted from garden shows, garden tours. Where the designer and/or setting is unknown, no attribution is given, making this a chair tear sheet. At the end of August, with temperatures hopefully cooling, some of the best chair weather is still ahead.

Fermob at Dunn Gardens, Seattle, Washington
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Recliners on the High Line, New York City
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Venice Home and Garden Tour 2012
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Bend Seating
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Maarten Baas plastic chair in wood
Maarten Baas plastic chair in wood

Emeco Broom chair by Philip Starck
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Venice Home and Garden Tour
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From Damian Velasquez’s Half13 collection, Dwell on Design, Los Angeles 2012
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Bend Seating
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Chairs at Villa Mundo Nuevo, by Jarrod Baumann of Zeterre Landscape Architecture
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Chaise at Villa Mundo Nuevo, by Jarrod Baumann of Zeterre Landscape Architecture

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Long Beach Antique Market
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Loll Designs, 100% recycled plastic
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Fermob, South Coast Plaza Spring Garden Show 2012, garden designer Dustin Gimbel
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South Coast Plaza Spring Garden Show 2012
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San Francisco Flower and Garden Show 2012
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Battery Park, New York City
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Battery Park, New York City
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Garden of Katherine Spitz and Daniel Rhodes, Mar Vista, California
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Sue Dadd and James Griffith’s “Folly Bowl,” Altadena, California
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Venice Home and Garden Tour 2012
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private garden
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private garden
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private garden
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private garden
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private garden
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San Francisco Flower and Garden Show
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private garden
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private garden
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San Francisco Flower and Garden Show 2012
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Venice Home and Garden Tour 2012
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Rancho Los Alamitos, California
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gentlemen, stop your motors

The Los Angeles Times ran this piece in their Pro Portfolio section on Monday, December 26, and it really deserves another look. The article profiles the home garden of Katherine Spitz, of Katherine Spitz Associates, Inc., Landscape Architecture.

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The Pro Portfolio format allows for the designer to describe their project, in this case, her home garden, in their own words. This little snippet reveals what may be a timeless conflict:

Our biggest issue was the lawn. I wanted less and my husband wanted more. It has been incrementally reduced but remains an issue. Concrete pavers replaced lawn around the circular fountain in front of the follies.”

Here’s the “before” photo, with lawn still in place:

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I showed Marty both photos and asked for his honest preference, then about fell out of my chair on hearing his answer.
He prefers the photo with the lawn. Even though the luminous top photo looks like it was lit by Terrence Malick, with the windows of the twin follies gleaming gold behind the balletic arch of the fountain jets over the reflecting pool — he prefers the lawn. There is clearly an emotional attachment to well-mown turf grass that eludes me. As more frequent droughts and water scarcity necessitate increasingly smaller (or entirely absent) lawns, will it be men who mourn the loss the most?

Feel free to try this test at home.

Checking my choice for a title, I find via Google that it’s been used a mere 1,800,000 times. The Internet is certainly one of the most effective means to disabuse one’s self of any pretense of originality. Still, the title stays. I’m referring to lawn mowers, of course.