Katherine Spitz has created her home garden over the last two decades with her husband, Daniel Rhodes, an architect. As a landscape architect and an architect, they have been experimenting with their garden, continually upgrading, rethinking and replanting each outdoor room. They have been using plant material, design, pieces of landscape history and ideas from their travels to experiment with their garden. Seeing how plants grow, change and has influenced what to she uses in her own landscape designs. The garden is a living record of changing aspirations and desires, as each new room and each new element reflects our increasing design maturity and confidence.
Five fountains lead one through the garden, the sounds of water guide one through the landscape. Four green rooms with walls of Cypress and Privet, chattering fountains, and luxuriant flowering trees and shrubs, form the basis of the garden. Influences from the cottage gardens of England, with their resplendent floriferous borders, the finely tuned Italian gardens, with elegant rooms of green, and the stereophonic gardens of Spain, Mediterranean paradises replete with fountains, are visible in the Mountain View garden.
The house and garden are designed to complement each other, with the garden providing a place for living that is as comfortable outside as the house is inside. The Cypress allee, remade recently, directs the viewers’ attention to the new circular fountain in the far reaches of the garden. It uses a forced cypress perspective. The fountain’s cheerful chatter and bubble creates a friendly presence in the garden, and the surrounding lavender, rosemary, and sage adds fragrance and sensory delights.
Many design influences have help create an ‘Italian Garden’, twin follies drew inspiration from Hidcote Manor Garden, a dining terrace with a Mock Orange tree with hanging lights brought back from San Miguel. Katherine and her husband have had a difference of opinions on the lawn areas with Katherine wanting less and Daniel wanting more, but over time the lawn has been inclemently reduced including in front of the two follies where the lawn has been replaced with a circular fountain and paving.
The garden is filled with numerous plant species. Katherine has experimented with Ceanothus, Arctostaphyalus, Matilija poppies (Romneya coulteri), Little Ollies (Olea europaea), orange trees and roses.
Location: Los Angeles, CA – Mar Vista neighborhood
Landscape Architect: Katherine Spitz
Project completion date: Incrementally 1994-2011
Photo credits: Steve Lacap, Michael Moran, Linda Jassim, Tim Considine