Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hardscaping: This Bankers Hill Backyard Is Built for Outdoor Entertaining

The Singletons share how they overhauled their yard into a walkable entertaining zone



Published:

hardscapingMike and Sharon Singleton play a game of bocce in their Bankers Hill backyard.

As both licensed landscape architects and partners at KTUA, the Singletons had high expectations for the masterminds behind their own landscape design—themselves. “We wanted to buck the old wives’ tale that says the cobbler’s kids have no shoes,” Mike jokes. “A landscape architect’s house should look like a landscape architect worked on it.”

When they bought their Bankers Hill abode five years ago, the backyard was, as Sharon puts it, “an eclectic mix.” Mike adds, “One of every fruit tree in the world. . . and a goat.” And miniature horses, too, Sharon says.

It can be concrete. It can be brick. It can be pavers. It’s just a firm surface. —Mike Singleton, partner at KTUA Planning and Landscape Architecture

With outdoor entertaining their main objective, the couple overhauled the backyard entirely, scooping out 20 truckloads of soil and bringing in 16 truckloads of concrete to create a deck that shoots off of the kitchen, with a recreation room and adjacent pergola below (where those horses used to be).

A set of original stairs that formerly led to those fruit trees now ends at a bocce ball court, situated below a hill of terraces, each carefully curated with vegetation representing a San Diego ecoregion—as if we needed any more indication that landscape architects reside here, indeed.

 

Key to the Garden

 

1. Pergola

Built atop fresh soil (translation: uncompacted), the pergola is fixed with adjustable columns in the unlikely event the ground sinks and the concrete attempts to resettle. “If for some reason it did, there’s bolts in these columns we can tighten to raise one or the other,” Mike says.

2. Quarry stone finish

“We always say concrete is the most misused hard surface around,” Mike says. “You can do a lot of creative things in terms of pattern, scoring, and textures.” They applied a quarry stone finish—basically, an acid gel that fast-tracks its patina—to a few of their slabs.

3. Bocce court

This recreational accent was a bit of an afterthought. “We created the bocce court, because we had so much soil,” Sharon says. Now it’s also the start of those ecoregions Mike created, courtesy of the sand representing a shoreline.

4. Dark and light

A mix of light and dark surfaces (even in these cobble walls) somewhat levels out the sun’s effects—white concrete reflects the sun and can be hard on the eyes, whereas dark surfaces, like asphalt, soak up the heat.

5. Terraces

“Each terrace represents one of San Diego County’s ecoregions,” Mike explains. There are 14 total, from monkey flower and buckwheat representing the coastal mesa to manzanita reflecting mountain slopes.

6. Rock mulch

Even some of their mulch is hard!” It’s also more permeable than a bark mulch. And if you don’t take care of them enough, they usually still look natural and maintained,” Mike adds.


Learn more about arranging your backyard.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More in San Diego Landscapes:

Ornamental Landscaping: Wander Through Jim Bishop's Missions Hills Oasis

San Diego's 2019 Horticulturist of the Year walks us through his backyard

Fire-Wise Landscaping: Step Onto a Stunning Fire-Proof Property in University Heights

How one couple stripped their yard of fire-hazardous vegetation

Urban Gardening: Where to Start in San Diego

Three ways to introduce edibles to your landscape—even if you don't have one

Hardscaping: This Bankers Hill Backyard Is Built for Outdoor Entertaining

The Singletons share how they overhauled their yard into a walkable entertaining zone

4 Rules for Arranging Your Backyard

Interior designer Abbie Naber divulges how to give your outdoor space a chic update

Jungalow: There's 230 Houseplants in This Chula Vista Abode

Cathy Martinez tells all about her houseplant obsession

Houseplant Styling 101

Carlos Franco, owner of Green Fresh Florals + Plants, breaks down what rooms plants thrive in

Water-Wise Landscaping: Soak Up Eco-Friendly Landscaping Inspiration From this Carlsbad Property

What led a couple to rip out their yard and replace it with drought-tolerant foliage

Pet-Friendly Landscaping: It's Not Just About Non-Toxic Plants

Judy Macomber divulges how to design your yard in a way that makes you and fido happy
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Pet-Friendly Landscaping: It's Not Just About Non-Toxic Plants

Judy Macomber divulges how to design your yard in a way that makes you and fido happy

Water-Wise Landscaping: Soak Up Eco-Friendly Landscaping Inspiration From this Carlsbad Property

What led a couple to rip out their yard and replace it with drought-tolerant foliage

Houseplant Styling 101

Carlos Franco, owner of Green Fresh Florals + Plants, breaks down what rooms plants thrive in
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    Nearly 7,500 of our hungriest readers voted in our annual poll—and the results are served
  2. Vote Now in San Diego’s Cutest Pet Contest
    Your furry family member could win a pet prize package and be featured in San Diego Magazine
  3. First Look: Il Dandy
    Michelin-starred Italian chefs open a stunner in Bankers Hill
  4. Best of North County 2019
    Our annual roundup of what's up-and-coming and full-on buzzy above the 56
  5. The Best Veggie Burgers in San Diego
    The citywide hunt for the best plant-based burger found a clear winner
  6. San Diego Homebuyer’s Guide 2019
    It's possible to find an affordable home in these six up-and-coming enclaves
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now in San Diego’s Cutest Pet Contest

Your furry family member could win a pet prize package and be featured in San Diego Magazine

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Vote Now in San Diego’s Cutest Pet Contest

Your furry family member could win a pet prize package and be featured in San Diego Magazine

What Would You Do with a Life Without Disease?

For William "Bill" Brown the answer is clear: Make the world go round.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags