What do you get when you remove more than 300 yards of soil and clay to install a vineyard and orchard? An outdoor oasis that is both bountiful and beautiful.
That’s exactly what Green Leaf Environmental Landscape Services did for one of its high-end residential clients in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
“This was definitely a dream project because the client enjoyed the process and the design, which turned out just beautiful,” says Julia Lange, president and CFO of Green Leaf Environmental Landscape Services , which is based in San Diego, Calif.
In addition to reducing the water usage on his property and inputting a vineyard with a large fruit orchard, the client wanted to incorporate privacy by using large new trees triangulated along the street and sides of the front yard.
To fulfill the client's vision, crews first removed the entire front yard, including large hardwood trees and an old and dilapidated water feature.
“We removed all the vast lawns and had a clean slate,” Lange says. “We even found a large cantera stone fish at the bottom of the drained water feature that the client didn’t know was there.”
From there, the Green Leaf team built a sizable water feature with two pumps to control the spillways, using the latest technology for autofill and cleaning.
Lange designed the yard with vignettes of planting surrounded by decomposed granite with drought tolerant specimens carrying a low WUCOLS rating.
“The vineyard was designed with table grapes and had rows of blueberries and blackberries, too. We created a mesh system to cover the entire vineyard during fruiting season to keep the birds and critters out,” Lange says.
The fruit orchard included pistachios, oranges, pears, macadamia nuts, cherry trees and more.
Finally, the company installed stand-up flagstone walkways, concrete bridges, many types of flowering trees and WAC LED lighting around the property such as hanging lights, path lights and driveway lights.
Throughout the process, the company was no stranger to pivoting as the client changed his mind and added four times the number of trees than in the original design.
Additionally, the large mature fruit trees and grape the client requested proved difficult to find.
“I had to go to great lengths to find the large trees, fruit trees and grapes, which was very time-consuming and stressful,” Lange says.
With such a large swath of renovation and installation work, the project took almost two years to complete with crews of seven to eight irrigation techs, managers, hardscape experts and laborers.
“The team trained and spent a lot of time using heavy equipment and had a lot of reinforcement on proper planting techniques and mixing of new soils with compost,” Lange says.
The company used large Bobcats, skip loaders, forklifts, trenchers and compactors on this project.
“We do the work in-house as we have an incredibly talented staff," Lange says. "It was a magical experience to design the project and interact so well with the client.”