Atherton: Masten-Ireland Residence

Drought-tolerant garden

Entry garden (before)

Dining patio from dining room

Dining patio from rooftop (before)

Pool garden with fieldstone retaining wall

Pool deck extended on the left

Pool deck (before)

Shade sails & patio furniture on newly paved & extended pool deck

Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) garden

Redesign of pool deck and garden spaces for this ranch style home, incorporating a stormwater detention pond and a retaining wall for rainwater harvesting.

We are now enjoying our property in ways we had only imagined and this has so much to do with how your vision and design helped reveal the landscape. We have gone from an overgrown hillside that blocked most views, to an open, wooded property with so many wonderful spots to enjoy nature and her glorious views.

On Tuesday, we had inches of rain. It was the first big rain since the landscaping was finished. I was nervous. As I walked the property, I was relieved to see that the water was being captured and routed into the detention pond. In fact, I was amazed at how well the whole system worked. Great job, Ira! I love that you were able to design a pond that recycled landscape material by reusing the asphalt we took from the driveway. Not only did this make the whole site more sustainable by not dumping the asphalt into a landfill, but saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the traditional engineered solution. Thank you, Ira, for doing such beautiful, sustainable, water-smart design.   –Davis Masten

The photographs below show the excavation and finished construction of a detention pond for the Masten-Ireland residence (all site construction was done by Valle Gardening & Landscaping). The Town of Atherton and more municipalities every year are requiring residential properties to keep all stormwater runoff on site (broadly, this is a form of rainwater harvesting). It is not unusual for a civil engineer to produce the hydrological calculation needed to design a system to accomplish these goals and they will often propose a system design, but the end result can be costly infrastructure. However, a carefully designed and placed pond of this kind by a landscape architect can save tens of thousands of dollars on infrastructure and construction cost.

The detention pond was constructed on the downhill slope of the property away from the main gardens in an area that could benefit from the recharge of groundwater by the pond. It is planted with native wildflowers and grasses and is dry during the summer season. A short retaining wall for holding the uphill grade of the pond’s edge is constructed of recycled asphalt from the old driveway

Excavation of detention pond

Constructed detention pond during dry season

Recycled asphalt retaining wall on upper edge of detention pond