Sometimes new projects are just fun. That was the case with this install in San Rafael. I had gone to school with one of the homeowners, and they were excited and ready for the whole process. We started with a huge ugly concrete patio in the rear of this San Rafael Eichler. The goal was a more modern and kid friendly back yard. We designed a layout that incorporated beautiful Kronos Bluestone tile, combined with a renovated drainage system, synthetic turf, new planter boxes, and connecting paths. The work made the view from the large rear windows transformed.
Working with O’Connell Landscape to complete our back yard renovation was an incredible experience through and through. Michael and his team were prompt, professional, and thoughtful about every detail. Michael has such a creative eye for design and his masterpiece came to life beautifully. We needed EVERYTHING done, from drainage to root removal to hard scapes to artificial turf and garden installation. They proved to be experts with it all. I can’t rate them high enough. You won’t be disappointed!
This project in West Petaluma was looking for a facelift for some old concrete and tile. The previous owners had installed Southwestern tones in the existing concrete and orange tile, whereas the client was looking for a different look. We retrofitted the existing rear terrace, patio, and front courtyard with new Kronos Bluestone tile and a phased landscape (to comply with water restrictions) to match. The result was a completely transformed look and front entry.
When I contemplated re-doing my worn out yard I knew I needed a firm that could manage a complete design-build project. Michael O’Connell of O’Connell Landscape exceeded all of my expectations.
Michael is a pleasure to work with; talented, responsible, honest, attentive to detail and completely trustworthy.
Michael used technology from the outset, filming my complete yard and emailing me a visual, verbal commentary of the planned work on each section of my property. (Who does that?!). He deftly managed my project from the initial consultation through ongoing work until completion. He has an eye for design and a command of all materials, organic and inorganic and the knowledge to bring a project through to completion and on budget.
His crew is highly skilled, also attentive to detail, and pleasant to have around.
Michael performed a miracle with my yard! I can whole-heartedly recommend Michael and O’Connell Landscape.
For this front yard project in Santa Rosa, the challenge was to take a tired front lawn and boxwood hedge and turn it into something more captivating and low water use.
To accomplish this we removed an old concrete pathway and installed a new curving paver entry walkway with inlaid boulders from an adjacent dry stream bed. At the entry a new Bluestone porch with space for seating was installed. Plantings focused low maintenance selections that dramatically cut water use. In an effort to mitigate effects of the on-going drought, we limited the planting footprint of the property to key areas.
The result was a front yard that has drawn raves in the neighborhood and will continue to mature and grow into something special.
We used O’Connell Landscape to reimagine our front yard. This was our second project with the O’Connell team.
One of the main attractions of using O’Connell Landscape is that they are a design build firm. This is much less hassle than dealing with two separate firms. Another advantage of working with a design build firm is being able to quickly accommodate design changes and the unexpected.
The design phase is made easier because not only does Michael have wonderful creative ideas but he welcomes your input as well. He also will gently tell you if your ideas are unworkable or could be improved upon.
OCL provides detailed quotes. Working with Michael we were able to figure how much to do in this phase. Additionally, the change orders were minimal.
The OCL build team are true craftsmen in all aspects of landscaping, including grading, paver installation, concrete and planting. The build phase clicked along like clock work and was finished when projected.
Professionalism and excellent communications are evident throughout. Michael keeps his team and the client up to date. You always know where you are schedule and budget wise. When completed you receive a booklet on all your systems (e.g., water, lights) and how to care for the plants.
In summary the project finished on time and in budget. It was professionally executed. We are delighted with the outcome.
-Sylvia & Jim, Santa Rosa
Design, Before & After Images
Drought Resistant Plantings from this Project From our Awesome Plantmaster Database
This project in the Cherry Valley neighborhood of Petaluma had been landscaped years before, but was in need of some upgrades to both plantings and hardscape to improve the design and connection of the spaces. We installed new plantings in multiple areas, with upgraded bluestone stepping stones and decomposed granite walkways. The result was the final piece of the puzzle to make the remodeled house and fencing knit together.
During the past couple of years of the pandemic we have done many projects for past clients who wanted to do additional phases of work or tune up an element or area of the their yard. This project in Novato is a front yard for a back yard we completed almost 20 years ago.
The yard here was a flat front lawn, dominated by a large Mulberry tree. A common issue, a lack of front entry walkway, resulted in the driveway serving as the only entryway. We tiered this yard with a low natural stone retaining wall using Stone Universe natural stone panels. The entry way featured precut Stone Universe quartzitic flagstone on both the entry walk and porch. Two large fruitless olives were installed with a DG walkway off the driveway.
The result is a lower maintenance yard that really turns heads.
This renovation in Petaluma took an existing landscape and gave it a modern refresh. We installed new woodwork, including trellises and a Pacific Woodworks Gate, saw cut an existing concrete path to make it a modern focal point, and redid the back yard with patio, bluestone and synthetic turf. The result is a new landscape that integrates and updates the existing elements well.
Working with Michael at O’Connell Landscape (OCL) was an absolute pleasure. He was extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the work, collaborative, always managed our expectations, and used technology (website photo surveys, online forms, etc.) to roll thru the design process efficiently. OCL may not be the least expensive option out there, but if you want extremely professional work with an eye for quality control and responsiveness, you will find it here. He was able to make our vision into a reality that extended our usable space outdoors. We will definitely be working with OCL again!
Five years later, this project in West Petaluma is still one of our favorite installations. Not only are the clients on this project delightful, but the end result of this front and back makeover was beautiful. Here is a video and images from this 2016 installation.
This large corner lot in East Petaluma started with a blank slate, save a prominent chicken coop that was to be one of the anchors of the new garden’s design. We focused here on a creating an open and low maintenance yard that would be good for entertaining and would knit with recent renovations of the old farmhouse on site.
We installed a large paver patio, which in future phases will feature a pergola and outdoor barbecue. Off the patio is a large synthetic grass area with a seating circle for a firepit. We integrated these elements with hog panel fencing, low maintenance mediterranean plantings and several fruit trees. At the entry a second area of turf was installed with a tiered fountain that provides white noise.
I cannot recommend Michael O’Connell and his team enough. All of the work was done with the utmost integrity from start to finish. He was meticulous, organized, and knew exactly what I needed for my property. His depth and breadth of knowledge of agriculture, landscape, and carpentry is impressive. The transformation of my property was incredible. I started with a dirt lot and now I have an oasis I can relax in and enjoy every day. While he may not be the cheapest, he was worth every cent. I highly recommend you to contact him for landscaping.
-Anna DiGrande, Petaluma
We don’t often get to do a project twice, but this project in Corte Madera provided a unique opportunity. The homeowners remodeled their one story home, and in the construction process both the front and rear landscapes were erased. The task of this project was to update and restore the landscape we had installed about 10 years ago with an updated version. The result matched the modern lines of the new residence well.
While the rain has come a bit to the North Bay, that hasn’t slowed down this installation in East Petaluma. In this video we see a new Cal Stone Paver Patio right after installation and check-in on our prep for new turf.
This compact front and back yard in East Petaluma was in need of a make-over after the builder installed landscape had run it’s course.
We replaced the existing lawn with low maintenance synthetic turf, expanded the patio with porcelain pavers to compliment the house and added a new vegetable garden area.
In the front yard a new rock garden style landscape of low maintenance succulents and mediterranean plants completed the renovation.
“We’ve been admiring the yard all afternoon as we set about cleaning things up and putting things away. The lights just came on and it was so wonderful to look out and see the olive tree & back wall illuminated as well as the front steps.
Thank you to you and your crew! It’s Christmas, New Years and our birthdays all in one day!”
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 mid-century style installation in Terra Linda focused on clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic. We took a tired back yard patio and lawn and renovated with a new patio, connecting paths, spa and shower area, and slab for a soon to be installed studio.
We were in need of a completely new look for our boring, rectangular, flat backyard. Of the design/build firms we contacted, Michael O’Connell of O’Connell Landscape was by far the most responsive, thoughtful and creative. He was familiar with our neighborhood and was interested in working with the mid-century design elements we were hoping to complement. He was willing to work with our rough, preliminary sketches and bring them up to a higher level.
The O’Connell Landscape team was exceptional. Since it was COVID-time, Michael had the same two highly skilled workers on the job, start to finish. They showed up every day at 7:00 and did everything from complete demo of two patios, tree, root, rock and dirt removal, to laying the DG pathways, setting the concrete forms, laying electrical conduit and all new irrigation, building the fences and an outdoor shower and all the plantings. They wore masks consistently and Michael provided two separate portapotties to ensure their safety.
Michael provided regular updates on the job and detailed invoices. He did not go over budget, except for the changes we wanted and approved. There were some unforeseen issues (an older, hidden concrete patio that had to demo-ed, for example) and he itemized the extra costs clearly and in writing. We just love our new yard. It is exactly what we wanted and the entire process was easier better-communicated than some of our other past projects.
We completed this garden in Cotati in 2016, and have returned a couple of times for some follow-up projects. A couple years back we extended a driveway for the homeowners. This past summer we tuned up the bluestone seating areas in the back yard. Here is a post install video of the landscape, which has matured nicely since it was installed.
We have been using YouTube video recaps as a productive tool to communicate with clients for a while now. This before and after series of videos really underscores the transformation we made to the property with a front and back yard installation.
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.
It is always fun to visit a project a while after installation and see the transformation as the garden starts to fill in and mature. This project in Tiburon was a complete transformation of a front and back yard. It benefited from the great Tiburon climate, with its mild bay-side influence. We installed all new plantings, walkways, rear patios, retaining walls, extensive fencing and driveway for this remodel project. Enjoy!
This project in West Petaluma was a refresh of a garden installation that was about 10 years old. We installed a new dry stream bed and connecting path, added privacy lattice, driveway access gate, and redeveloped all the planting beds.
We asked Michael to update our existing landscape and add some new elements. We had a fairly vague idea of what we wanted but Michael was able to create a design that brought to life exactly what we wanted. His design seamlessly blended the new elements with the refurbished existing elements and resulted in serene front and back yard areas that contain interesting focal points everywhere you look. The new elements are absolutely lovely and the work done to the existing elements made these look like new again. The dry creek bed and blue flagstone pathway he designed are just perfect. Michael’s crew have been with him for 10+ years and are all extremely knowledgeable, professional and reliable, especially Ubaldo, who executed Michael’s design beautifully. Michael took time to go over all the details, kept us informed on status and provided timely change orders as items were added to the wish list. All in all, Michael and his crew made the process fun and we couldn’t be happier with the results. We highly recommend O’Connell Landscape to anyone looking for a stress-free process and beautiful results in a timely manner.
-Marie Girolo, Petaluma
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.