Nipomo garden is a backyard sanctuary

With the help of a local landscaper, Rebecca Williams created a peaceful outdoor living area with room for her two Labs to run

Special to The TribuneSeptember 5, 2012 


    This project earned Addison Landscape an Outstanding Achievement Award from the California Landscape Contractors’ Association last June. For more information on Addison Landscape, visit or http://www.houzz .com/pro/addisonlandscape.


    • Determine your goals; separate essential features from those that would be nice if your budget allows. What you don’t want is as important as what you want.
    • Make lists and/or clip photos to help prospective landscapers provide an accurate estimate.
    • Interview several firms to determine which one best reflects your vision.
    • During the project, don’t try to supervise the crew; however, if possible, be available for on-the-spot decision-making.

After graduating from Cal Poly, Rebecca Williams wished she could stay in the area. However, she migrated to Los Angeles, and then to Truckee, working as a paralegal. When her last boss announced he was moving to San Luis Obispo, her wish came true.

In 2008, after years of renting, Williams bought a home in Nipomo. At the open house for this property, she surprised the real estate agent by asking to see the backyard first.

Her desires were apeaceful location with a view of the sunset; an outdoor living area; and a safe, secure place for her two Labrador retrievers. There was plenty of space, and a westward view, but no outdoor living accoutrements — just a small concrete slab and unmaintained lawn bordered by mature eucalyptus trees. Still, it had a peaceful ambience and could accommodate the dogs. She could envision its possibilities.

Garden improvements were delayed, however, by necessary renovations to the 1980s-era house. A significant change was replacing the backyard sliding doors with French doors to enhance the indooroutdoor flow. Williams was planning ahead for her future garden.

Williams selected Addison Landscape after interviewing two other landscape firms.

Tyler Addison sought Williams’ input before designing the yard. Then he invited her to accompany him in selecting the flag stone and pavers, and later, the plants and plant containers.

The old concrete slab, the grass and a decrepit irrigation system were removed. The new patio and paths were laid with Belgard pavers. The built-in grill island incorporates a sink, granite countertop and decorative pergola overhead. Seat walls were built near the island and a gas fire pit. A basalt water feature flows gently nearby. The new lighting is both practical and aesthetic, with up-lights that highlight the eucalyptus.

Williams says the new irrigation system cut her water bill by half, though grass still covers a generous area to provide the dogs space for running. In the mulched area beyond the grass, a drip system serves drought-tolerant perennials and shrubs, interspersed with Addison’s groupings of large pots filled with succulents and other durable plants. Birdthemed garden statuary adds a whimsical touch.

Although the backyard is Williams’ favorite, the large front yard also received a makeover, including stacked stone columns to mark the newly paved driveway, rebuilt fences, and new planting beds around the house.

“I dreaded this project before it began,” she said, “but I actually enjoyed the entire process. I never had a complaint or concern. Tyler Addison had said it would take three months, and I was almost sorry when they finished on schedule.”

Sharon Crawford is a freelance writer who lives in Los Osos. Contact her at .

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