‘Exuberant” is the word that landscape designer Linda Shotwell uses to describe the garden she and homeowner Luba Halopoff created at Luba’s home near the ocean in Shell Beach.
“It was such a joy to work with an extremely artistic client like Luba,” Shotwell said. Luba’s artistic talent had been honed in photography school, and her years as a photographer gave her an eye for beauty and the ability to envision a home or garden in its finished form long before the first plan was sketched.
Halopoff found the 1950s small, plain beach cottage in 2004, and from her experience at remodeling houses, knew that the home had promise.
Living in Cambria at the time, she worked with Cambria architect Marshall Lewis to turn the cottage into an interesting contemporary home with unique structural and unifying elements. The architectural roof and fascia are accented with copper, while the exterior walls feature flagstone and high-quality sliding glass doors to maximize the ocean view.
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With a lifelong love of flowers, the next step was to transform a generic front yard lawn into a colorful indoor-outdoor living space.
Halopoff hired Shotwell of Landsystems & Associates in 2005 to draw up landscape plans that would reflect the home’s contemporary themes and provide lots of variety of color and texture. Shotwell designed a low stucco garden border wall to surround and define the street side of the corner property. Within the walls she and Halopoff planned flagstone paths weaving through a collection of bold contrasting plantings with an abundance of color. A large concrete and flagstone deck facing the ocean was furnished with bright orange chaise lounges and chairs, accented by several colorful pots.
“Luba wanted a mix, a sampling of many flowers and interesting plants, an eclectic flavor with a little amusement added,” said Shotwell. “We worked together to find a potpourri of plant varieties tailored to her tastes, all of which would work well together.”
They added sculptures and a fountain, a whimsical turtle concrete bench and birdbaths to mingle with the plantings.
Geometric, copper-colored entry gates from the street are mounted on flagstone pillars at both the front and side entrances. Designed by the architect to repeat the copper roof accents, they provide an inviting passage through the low wall into the private garden.
From the street, the first things that catch the eye are the huge alstroemeria plants blooming prolifically outside the wall and the tall grasses that now look like fountains flowing over the wall. Once inside the garden, visual interest is created by the wide variety of blooming plants and interesting grasses and shrubs tastefully arranged in a small space
Two rectangular built-in planters repeating the outer wall design were added on each side of the flagstone entry steps. From these flow bright orangered parrot beak plants backed by purple agapanthus and pink mandevilla vines to welcome visitors.
Halopoff grew up on a farm in Lancaster, and said, “My mother loved flowers, so they were always part of our garden.”
While raising her two daughters in Southern California, Halopoff used her design talents to remodel homes in Newport Beach and Whittier. After relocating to Cambria, she continued her remodeling efforts there and in Pismo Beach before purchasing her current home. “My Shell Beach home is my last remodel, because I love living here!” she said.
“This yard is my resort, a paradise environment. The front deck is my vacation destination. I love the ocean, and I can sit with a cup of tea and see the ocean through the garden first thing in the morning. I’m thankful every day that I found this place, in this location.”