Groundwork Design Nestles Landscape at Base of Mount San Jacinto

Photography by Lance Gerber

Chicago based landscape design studio, Groundwork Design, led by Julie deLeon, has completed a private, mid-century home in the corner of Palm Springs, California. 

Built at the base of Mount San Jacinto, the landscape mimics the mountain range with clusters of small hills that create private settings, but serves as an extension of the nearby natural surrounding context.

Photography by Lance Gerber

“If you look at the site, you notice the landscape extends farther than just the limits of the property.  Outside of the limitations is a sparse, desert landscape.  This sparse-like environment created an opportunity for the landscape” Julie deLeon said.

“As you progress through the space, the sequence of the landscape becomes more lush, like a gradient.”

o2 Architecture, the residential architect, organized the interior program in a formal, modern and rectangular fashion so that the great room had unobstructed views to the mountain, while creating “microclimates for visual and thermal comfort” throughout the rest of the house.

Photography by Lance Gerber

“With all of our projects, the goal of the landscape is to create an extension of the interior program, so for the landscape – we organized the outdoor space in similar fashion to the architecture of the house, rectangular modern and formal, but we subtly added curves that mirrored the base of Mount San Jacinto.” said Julie deLeon

Handcrafted and imported from Belgium, Groundwork Design placed ATELIER VIERKANT pottery as a backdrop to the pool.

Photography by Lance Gerber

Julie further explained, “We wanted to highlight the handcrafted pottery as what they are – sculptural elements in the landscape.  The planters themselves contain no plants in them, we felt the beauty of the planters deserved to be highlighted and plantings would diminish the sculptural aspect”.

“Locally sourced boulders are also placed in the planting beds to suggest the naturalization of the built landscape to blur the boundaries between architecture and landscape.” Julie deLeon


Landscape Designer: Groundwork Design

Architect: o2 Architecture

Pottery Furnishings:  ATELIER VIERKANT

Photography: Lance Gerber

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