This project in Novato was a multi-phase project that grew from an initial focus on one section of the yard, to a comprehensive new grouping of flagstone patios, steps, and plantings.
We used a Dusty Way Indian Sandstone to tie together the front entry, side landings and steps, and a large rear patio.
“We had such a good experience we increased the work 4 fold. Workers turned up every day and left the site clean and safe. I would recommend O’Connell for anyone wanting a top quality job with excellent project management” -Juliet, Novato
We are working on a project in Petaluma for a lawn renovation and back yard landscaping. The old lawn had broken sprinklers, hadn’t been maintained, and was too big for the back yard. We developed a design to reduce the lawn size, install more efficient spray heads, and incorporate a seating area and low maintenance, low water use plantings for half the lawn area.
We are working on a large flagstone patio installation on this project in Novato. Here in progress in the concrete being pumped over the rebar and baserock for the flagstone sub-slab. The flagstone will then be mortared and grouted over the patio.
We are just working on finishing up a couple of projects in San Rafael and Mill Valley that incorporate play friendly synthetic turf with play structures and basketball courts. The owners of both projects have small children and wanted to create a safe and low maintenance outdoor play space for their kids.
In Mill Valley we installed a synthetic lawn with a play structure surrounded by rubber mulch. The rubber mulch is one of the most absorbent materials for play structures, which worked well in the compact space of the play area and the play tower and slide and this project.
In San Rafael we installed a play grade synthetic turf with a premium mat backing for better fall absorption. The turf we used here was also denser and incorporated dead thatch yarn making it look much more realistic. We incorporated the lawn with a concrete patio and basketball court. The basketball court featured an adjustable hoop with tempered glass backboard that we installed.
Denser synthetic turf has more fibers, requiring less maintenance. Premium backing provides more cushioning and better feel.
We are in process of regrading and tearing out an existing front yard to prepare it for plantings and new landscape pathways. Using the Bobcat, we will shave soil from the top of the hillside and fill it at the base of the hill to reduce the slope of area and make it more suitable for planting.
Here is an updated photo of an outdoor kitchen project we have been working on in Napa. We have just installed this Viking gas grill with warming drawer. Viking makes great outdoor components, and their cabinets are a refined way to create outdoor storage spaces.
Leading to and from and the patio space are these beautiful cedar gates made by Wil Matthews over at Woodcraft Marin. His garden woodwork is some of the finest that we have seen.
Here is a progress image from a large tile patio we are in process of installing for this Napa backyard renovation. The material itself is a unique product from Tile & Stone Concepts in San Rafael, which is custom cast concrete from molds and then colored. The advantage to this custom product is that it can be manipulated in a variety of sizes and applications and color can be custom tuned to the project color palette.
We are wrapping up on this landscape project that complimented a recent remodeling project on this modern Mill Valley residence. The owner found a great stainless steel sculpture that moves with the wind to accent the project and front yard space.
Here is a current project in Napa for an outdoor fireplace and kitchen that is in construction. The design for this project really opened up a small backyard and brought the detailing and richness that was present inside the house to the landscape for a great outdoor living space.
The outdoor kitchen countertop partially completed- angle iron steel reinforces the countertop to be installed.
Layout of the outdoor kitchen counters and integrated Rumford Fireplace. The color coat of stucco and finish detailing have yet to be installed. See below for the design development details for the fireplace.
We are working on a project in San Rafael for a commercial concrete installation of walkways and patios and installing a new retaining wall and parking area. The concrete area will include space for patios and enclosure for bicycle storage.
Baserock and Forms Have Been Set for Concrete Installation
Retaining Wall Rebar and Foundation Prepared for Parking Area Wall
Spring is a busy time around here, sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in spring work. Here are some of the projects we have been working on so far this spring:
Here is an update to project we completed in the fall, we planted a second round of spring plantings for a full, lush garden. The garden in Tiburon featured a roof garden with great views to San Francisco
Here is another update to a project we have been working on. This pool courtyard in San Rafael was completely redone, with a new concrete dining area, shade arbor and see-through gas fireplace.
We are getting close to finishing up this pool courtyard project in San Rafael. Pictured below are an accent water feature, a large wood trellis with masonry pillars and a dual sided gas fireplace. The space is almost ready for outdoor use as we come into spring.
Here is a current project that we are wrapping up in San Rafael. It features a large bluestone patio set in sand. The seams in between the stones will be planted with low creeping Thyme groundcover. Patios set in sand can give a different design look than patios set on concrete. They also allow for future flexibility as the shape of the patio can be fairly easily changed by moving stones. These bluestone pieces are 2″ in thickness and set on a compacted baserock subsurface, providing good stability. Having stones of good size (these are 2′ x2′), thickness, and with proper base preparation is crucial to having a patio that will be stable over the long term.
We are working on wrapping up this project in Mill Valley that features a granite water wall and Ipe Fencing. Because of the challenging nature of the site topography, the 1,500 pound polished granite fountain piece had to be installed with a forklift and hoist arrangement to lower it into place.
Updated image of finished installed water wall
The Ipe fencing for the project consists of two types of fencing- a wall cladding over an existing concrete retaining wall and a solid Ipe privacy fence. The Ipe has been treated with a hardwood stain to bring out its natural color.
Here is an image from a current project we are getting close to wrapping up in Mill Valley. It features a terraced bluestone patio with bluestone capped stucco walls and a tempered glass aluminum safety railing.
We are continuing to make progress on this project in Tiburon despite a little rainy weather. Pictured below is an image of a garden pathway edged with Aluminum edging, which will receive a final finishing layer of pathway gravel. The second image shows a planting bed that has been laid out for planting plan approval prior to installation.
Here is an image from a current project in Tiburon. We are working on the finishing touches preparing for this roof garden. For the project a new pool house was constructed and integrated into the terrain to minimize visual impact from the house. We are in the process of starting our preparation for a lawn and plantings that will be installed on top of the pool house’s waterproofed roof.
A special waterproofing layer/roof garden system is installed to prepare for this garden roof
Here’s an update from a project in Mill Valley. We have completed a section of the stone veneer I mentioned in this previous post. In the second image we are working on the drainage system and backfill for a retaining wall that is going to create a patio space for the small side yard of this hillside home.
We are working on a wood fence replacement for a project in Mill Valley. Instead of replacing the existing lattice wood fence with a traditional fence, we are installing a wood framed wall with stone veneer. The choice of veneer was important, because of the construction, full sized stone veneer could not be used. As a solution, we are using Rox Pro stone veneer, which is precut and glued into panels. This allows for easy installation, with a natural stone quality that manufactured concrete stone doesn’t have.
Here is a construction progress photo for a bluestone patio on a current project in Tiburon. Bluestone is typically imported from Pennsylvania and Connecticut, where it is used as the most frequent paving stone in the landscape. It has a great color, which ranges from blues and grays to highlights of purples and browns, and good durability.
This patio is of Select Blue grade, which has only blue and gray tones with no browns. This irregular installation is much like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Pieces are cut and fit together to create a patio with nice consistent grout joints and an organic overall character.
Here are some progress images from a project currently under construction in Mill Valley. We are in process of putting up hardwood cladding over an existing concrete retaining wall. The cladding will be integrated to replace an existing railing on top of the wall and help transform the patio area under construction to minimize the visual impact of the retaining wall.
Concrete Wall Before Wood Installation
Hardwood Cladding Being Installed on Framing Over Wall
working on finishing up this hilltop project in Tiburon. This was a large
project that involved dramatically reshaping the existing landscape to improve
the great views of San Francisco
and Belvedere. We also created a cohesive style that flowed well with the
architecture of the residence. To accomplish this, large segmental block retaining walls were constructed capped with custom railings to expand the yard space. This then provided an envelope for a side terrace with outdoor fireplace, and connecting flagstone patios.
Flagstone Patio with View to Belvedere Lagoon and San Francisco
Flagstone Patio and Seat wall with connecting Flagstone Path
Stained Redwood Side Gate
Custom Redwood and Metal Mesh Panel Railing
Side Terrace with Indian Sandstone and Stucco Walls capped with Flagstone
Plantings and Railing- Vines have been planted and over time will create green fence panels
At times advancing technology does not live up to its billing. Instead of saving time and making things easier, it often seems that the newest and latest gadget just wastes the time it saves getting through the bugs and make the device work correctly.
One good exception, mobile technology, has revolutionized the construction industry in terms of basic communications. The bells and whistles are pretty fun too. We are currently working on a larger construction project with a webcam mounted for the construction site. We can check in on project progress, never leaving our desk. This is especially handy for projects where clients travel frequently.
Another nice advance is good quality cameras on mobile phones. All of our foreman have phones with cameras, allowing for progress pictures to be sent back to the office instantly.
Below- Images from Current projects from Cell Phone Camera and Construction Webcam
Here are construction images from a current project in Tiburon. We are installing large stone slabs to provide stair access down a hillside. These slabs can be a bit of a challenge because of their size and weight. We use equipment to get them near the installation area. Then it’s old fashion leverage and strength to move and set the slabs in place because of the steepness of the hillside. These slabs are also a challenge because of their natural variation. To get consistant stairs and riser heights we have to chip and hone the stone on-site to get them to fit together properly. The result however, is a distinct and natural looking staircase.