This year has been a roller coaster with the spring shut down, followed by an increase in project demand as folks spend more time at home. One of the nice surprises of 2020 is how many repeat client projects we have done this year. We have installed 6 projects for past clients as part of new phases or remodels of their landscapes.
This project in Petaluma featured a repeat client who downsized into a smaller home. We installed a new Versa-lok retaining wall to open up some additional space in their yard; renovated the existing irrigation system and installed new turf and a seating area in this preliminary phase.
This is a repeat performance (second home and landscape project) with O’Connell Landscape and we couldn’t be happier. The first project resulted in an award-winning yard (which undoubtedly helped in last year’s sale). In our current down-sized home we didn’t hesitate to call Michael and his crew, the same men were we worked with 12 years ago. They transformed an overgrown yard into an attractive, low maintenance, functioning living space. They offered detailed fore-thought, responsive collaboration, and quality implementation. We can’t recommend Michael and his team highly enough.
-Sharon & Mike Morgan, Petaluma
Here is a video from another repeat client installation that we recently completed. This featured new fencing and custom driveway gates by Prowell Woodworks in Cotati to compliment the landscape installation we did a couple of years ago. We installed a custom 6’+2′ featherboard fence with matched gates for the carport area.
This project in Petaluma started with a yard that was in need of a clean slate and new vision. We created a design scheme that incorporated multiple use areas- a new patio, a firepit area and a vegetable garden, all tied together with a beautiful redwood pergola. Several accents, including boulders, a new fountain and low voltage lighting tied the front and rear yards and brought the whole project together.
Our experience with O’Connell Landscape from beginning to end was exceptional. Michael came to our house, listened to our thoughts and ideas and came up with the perfect design for our front and back yards. He took our ugly, weed infested yards and created an oasis. Michael and his crew were very professional and super easy to work with. Any questions or concerns were addressed in a very timely manner. We can not express how much we love our new ”Shangri La”! -Melanie & Russ, Petaluma
This project was a complete demo and renovation of a deep lot on Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Kentfield. The design redeveloped the front of the yard with a privacy fence, driveway gate and auto court, providing a much need break with the street. In the back a large patio, deck, and softscape areas were detailed to transform and make the area more usable and kid friendly.
Michael and his team recently completed a complete renovation of our outdoor landscaping. We did extensive use of pavers, woodwork, lighting, drainage and of course planting. Michael is clearly very knowledgeable about landscaping and provided excellent advice on design and implementation. We are very happy with the quality of his work and his very reasonable pricing. Highly recommended!
For this project in Kentfield we installed a large rear patio and front yard auto court using Cal Stone pavers. This video gives a good overview of the Quarry Stone line from Cal Stone and illustrates the installation in progress.
We are working on wrapping up a large installation of Peacock Gap golf course in San Rafael. One of the signatures of this newly renovated back yard is this Aqualens Fountain. We installed this with new dry laid flagstone squares and seat wall. The result is a modern and striking accent to the focal axis of a swimming pool area.
This recently completed project was a front and back yard installation for a new home on the East Side of Petaluma. The site was a blank slate and we worked with the owner to create a new entertaining space in the back yard with strong Mediterranean influences. A new travertine patio and seat wall are highlights, with the center piece of a Jade water feature. A secondary seating area of Arizona flagstone with creeping thyme balances and softens the other half of the yard. The planting scheme was low maintenance focused with Fruitless Olives, Lavender, and Roses being highlights.
O’Connell Landscape is the best!
Working with Michael and his team made the entire landscaping experience positive and productive – and one that resulted in landscaping that was completed within deadline and is exactly what I had hoped for – and more.
My new home had nothing but clay dirt in the back with a few grasses planted by the building contractor in front. It has now been transformed into a warm and welcoming Tuscan landscape both in front and in back.
Throughout the design process, Michael was patient with my questions regarding hardscape materials, design, colors, and plantings. He was excellent at listening to what I wanted and incorporating those concepts into a realistic design. He was also extremely cognizant of costs and budget issues – I always knew the cost of any of my “ideas” – in other words, at the end of the day, there were no budgetary surprises.
Rueben and his crew are expert and knowledgeable at all that they do. They are diligent, experienced, hardworking, and competent. They were never intrusive or disruptive to the goings on in our household, and always cleaned up before leaving the project each day.
Michael managed the entire process throughout the life of the project, regularly checking in with Rueben and his crew on-site, all the while maintaining excellent communication with me. He was extremely helpful when it came to selection of materials and a garden fountain, always providing samples and identifying vendors that carried materials that were of interest to me. When the project was complete, Michael prepared and reviewed with me, a booklet listing all the plantings and materials used as well as complete garden care specific to my landscaping.
Working with Michael, beginning with design, to material and planting decisions, and throughout the actual build-out, was a seamless process and a huge plus.
My landscaping is beautiful – and it was an absolute pleasure working with Michael.
This project on the Western edge of Petaluma took a large modern farm house and integrated a distinctive more modern planting plan to compliment the house. A large circular driveway dominated the front of the house and the outdated plantings there had seen better days. We designed a planting scheme focusing on ornamental grasses with accents of Olive Trees, Cork Oak, and Arbutus to transform the look of the front. New gravel walkways gave structure and framed the phase 1 implementation.
Michael is a true professional. He and his team are incredibly responsible, organized, detailed, honest, timely, and responsive. We hired O’Connell landscape to transform over two acres of farm property that had been left to waste for over a decade. The results exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to working with them again on future projects. Highly recommended.
Another year has flown by and with it a lot of interesting projects are in the books. Here you will find our gallery of highlights of work installed this year, including projects in Tiburon, Mill Valley and Petaluma- enjoy!
Here is a follow-up to a previous design post of a new entry way in Mill Valley. The entry featured an open pitched roof Redwood arbor with custom dual gates to match the existing and new fencing. Hardware for the gate was a twist lever from Rocky Mountain Hardware (the best for gates), with lighting from Barn Light Electric.
We are working on a couple of interesting projects in Larkspur and Petaluma right now. The Larkspur project focuses on a new back yard to create a more usable patio and entertaining space. It features a large bluestone patio and outdoor kitchen.
The Petaluma project is a larger yard that integrates new concrete patios, a large painted pergola, seat wall and stone accents.
We just wrapped up this front and back yard installation in West Petaluma (see progress photos here). The project featured a lot of interesting custom woodwork- new pergolas, all new fencing, and custom Cedar accent gates. These complimented all new paving- a new colored concrete driveway, paver seating area, and rear paver patio. Accent lighting and a polished granite water feature served as accents, while a backyard BBQ included a new grill, fridge and Big Green Egg smoker.
California real estate is expensive…that’s why expanding our living space outdoors was so critical to my husband and me. We hired O’Connell Landscape to basically overhaul every square foot of our yard. This included hardscape, plantings, outdoor kitchen, water feature, drainage, lighting, fencing, gates and more. The end result exceeded our expectations and is a true example of craftsmanship you just don’t see that often. Michael was meticulous with the details and was a real pleasure to work with. Backing him up is the most respectful and hard working team we’ve experienced. At the end of every day, we walk out into our yard and pinch ourselves! Bottom line, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend O’Connell Landscape.
-Cindy Jepsen, Petaluma
We are in construction on an extensive landscape project incorporating all new front and back yard work in West Petaluma. The design incorporates new fencing and paving throughout, with the back yard featuring a new pergola, patio and outdoor kitchen.
The spring seems to be coming early this year with all of the warm weather this winter. Here are some images from four different design projects in different stages of conceptual development.
-Novato Concept- Back yard patio and synthetic turf installation
-San Anselmo Concept- Back yard patios, walkways and garden area
-Cotati Concept- Back yard terracing, vegetable garden, steps, and paths
-Tiburon Project- Hardscape layout and retaining wall plan
For this ranch house in Cotati we are working on new concrete patios and walkways in the front and back yards. These new walkways create a new sense of entry to the front of the house and modernize the landscape.
Winter’s slower pace provides more schedule flexibility to fit in smaller projects. These two projects, one in Mill Valley and the other in Corte Madera had two things in common- small spaces and new Indian Sandstone. In Corte Madera we installed a new Navajo Brown Indian Sandstone patio. This created a more elegant and usable space, with screening achieved with Bamboo in concrete pots. In Mill Valley, we installed new Navajo Dusk Indian Sandstone over an existing concrete path, making an attractive new entry.
“Our project was a rather small one involving our front entry, so initially I was concerned it was too small for O’Connell to be interested. But when I explained our budget constraints to Michael, he was very responsive in designing a project that met our needs within our budget. He incorporated existing elements so that the work was focused on the things that needed changing. The old and new were blended very nicely.
The project itself was on time and on budget and we are very pleased with the results, both Michael’s design work, selection of materials, and the quality of the work done by the crews. Throughout the project Michael and the crew were very response to our questions and suggestions. Crews showed up on time, worked diligently, showed an amazing variety of skills, paid attention to detail, and did a good job of cleaning up at the end of each day.
Needless to say, we are pleased with the result and enjoyed working with O’Connell.”
This past year brought some interesting commercial and residential projects to O’Connell Landscape. We worked on a variety of jobs large and small in Marin and Sonoma Counties. See the gallery below for examples of our construction work in progress from 2014.
We started from scratch on this Kentfield back yard, with a complete removal of the unusable existing yard. The client wanted a back yard that would be a kid friendly play space, while at the same time good for entertaining. In its place we installed a new patio area, kid friendly synthetic turf and a new seating area. These elements were tied together with integrated perimeter plantings. See below for the before picture and after photos following installation.
This home in Adobe Creek next to the golf course had a small back yard with lawn that was unusable. We designed a new plan to better use the space with custom vegetable boxes and secondary brick patio. A bluestone pathway and low maintenance colorful plantings fill out the landscape.
This project in San Rafael started with a yard that hadn’t been worked on in years. Working with the owners we installed phase 1 of the project- building a new fence to enclose the back yard, installing landings at a couple of sets of doors and clean up, grading and drainage for the whole site.
We have been very satisfied with O’Connell Landscape, and are planning to contract with them again for future phases of our landscaping project. Michael O’Connell was responsive, detail-oriented, and flexible throughout the proposal and construction phases. We asked for multiple changes and additions throughout the process, and he responded quickly and documented changes thoroughly. When minor hiccups occurred, he responded quickly and made it right. We needed mostly the “infrastructure” completed (demo, grading, drainage, gravel walkways, redwood fencing and landings, irrigation, small lawn), and plan to do much of the planting later ourselves. Despite this not being in their scope, Michael has been very helpful in recommending plantings based on our style and level of watering desired. He definitely understands customer service, and their crews are highly skilled.
This large corner lot in Petaluma needed a complete makeover in the front and back. Colorful low maintenance plantings, accent boulders and gravel mulch were installed to give a new character to the front yard. While in the back yard a new shade arbor, paver patio, flagstone pathway and matching plantings, and gravel mulch were installed to complete the landscape.
This project in Petaluma situated on a large corner lot was more or less a clean slate after the initial clean-up. The front yard layout focused on a low maintenance installation featuring grasses and flowering perennials, accented with Sonoma Fieldstone boulders and Trinity Gravel Mulch. The back yard, which is still in design development, has a series of linked spaces and patios, with a more formal planting layout.
We are working on finishing up this project in Petaluma, a re-landscaping of a back yard and pool deck. The old layout was not very usable with a small lawn; the design incorporated a new dry laid bluestone patio, fencing and gate upgrades, new plantings, and a resurfacing of an older cracking concrete pool deck.
This project in Petaluma was in need of some help, with a large cracked asphalt driveway and a front yard that was being dominated by Juniper. We removed the old driveway and an RV parking area and installed a new stamped concrete parking surface and entry pathways. The junipers were removed and replaced with low maintenance groundcovers and grasses. Lastly, the old nondescript drainage at the front of the property was regraded with boulders, cobblestone and California native Juncus patens.
We installed this back yard garden in Petaluma last year, which won a CLCA North Coast Chapter award. The plantings have really started to grow in with the massings of plantings become more defined and apparent with time.
The design for this project in Petaluma focuses around a completely new hardscape for the front and back yards including new driveway, entry walkway and rear patio. What had been lawns in the front and back yard, become low maintenance planting areas with more usable space.
We are just wrapping up work on this project in Kent Woodlands, a complete re-landscaping for a large new home. The project, designed by Bradanini and Associates incorporated new bluestone patios, extensive walkways, mediterranean and shade garden areas, a redone swimming pool and large synthetic turf putting green.