Yardzen now serving the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles area and the Austin, TX area.

Starting Monday, March 25, Yardzen will provide services exclusively in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the greater Los Angeles area and the greater Austin, Texas area. If you’re unsure about whether or not Yardzen serves your city, you can contact us here.

Why are we limiting our services to just these three regions?

Nine months in we've more than proven that online outdoor space design is not only possible, but superior to the analog process in many ways. We've completed hundreds of designs for homeowners across the country and internationally, and done so while maintaining an industry-leading customer satisfaction rate. So while our goal continues to be building the world's best landscape design firm, as a startup we've decided to focus our efforts for the time being. A focus on specific regions allows us to perfect the entire process, from design through to project completion. We'll be adding additional regions in quick order.

If you have any questions, just ask. We’re here to help!

TIL: About Gabion Walls in Landscape Design

A cage encapsulating inorganic materials like rock and concrete, gabion walls can be an aesthetically pleasing, inexpensive retaining or privacy wall solution in your landscape design.

Photo credit: Garden Drum

Photo credit: Garden Drum

What’s the history of gabions?

Gabion walls (from Italian gabbione meaning "big cage”) are more than a trend born of recent times. They've historically been more function than form, commonly used in in civil engineering, road building and military applications. Their use dates back to the 19th century, having been built to stabilize shorelines and streams and divert water. According to Wikipedia, Leonardo da Vinci designed a type of gabion called a Corbeille Leonard for the foundations of the San Marco Castle in Milan.

gabion-1.jpg

What aesthetics do gabions work best with?

Over the past decade we’ve seen gabions used more commonly in modern, industrial and minimalist landscape designs, though they shouldn’t be limited to just those. They also can be integrated in more rustic designs. Given their history and functionality, we think you should feel good about incorporating one in yours.

Above: A Yardzen design in Marin County incorporating a gabion used for form and retaining function. Below, the design coming to life.

Above: A Yardzen design in Marin County incorporating a gabion used for form and retaining function. Below, the design coming to life.

What are gabion cages made of?

Gabion cages vary, but most commonly they’re made of sturdy galvanized or stainless steel wire. Many online and local retailers sell the cages pre-made, and you can work with your landscape contractor to choose the right cage for your project and budget.

Why choose a gabion?

  • Affordability. Generally less expensive than other retaining solutions since they don’t require a foundation.

  • Aesthetically pleasing. Still not very common, and surely a conversation starter.

  • Long lasting. Some gabion manufacturers guarantee a structural consistency of 50 years. (Wikipedia)

  • Environmentally friendly. Use filler material that’s recycled or native to your property to cut down on carbon emissions.


Get your design started today and ask your Yardzen team about a gabion wall at your property.










Reimagining the Oakland Coliseum as a public space

The Superbowl is on Sunday and we’ve got stadiums on the brain. Specifically, our local Oakland Coliseum, which will reach the end of its career as the home of the Oakland A’s and the Oakland Raiders, both of which are moving cities come next season.

The future of the Coliseum has been a point of debate since the news of the moves broke. Should it be repurposed? Should it be demolished? Here at Yardzen, our primary aim is to help people get more out of their outdoor spaces, so naturally we gravitate toward a future for the Coliseum that enables locals to continue to enjoy the space in capacities beyond watching their team play.

So we decided to have some fun with this and reimagine the Oakland Coliseum as a public space, with a jogging trail, a pond, a pet park, a coworking space, a play area for children and more.

Transforming urban infrastructure into public parks gives cities like Oakland potential to offer a site for community and beautify the area. Repurposing this industrial area provides opportunity to enhance the quality of life for nearby residents.

What do you think about the concept? Should the Oakland Coliseum become a public park?

Let’s Play Outside - 7 Tips for Creating an Outdoor Space for Your Kids

Domaine Home

Domaine Home

The wave of new electronic devices has left kids spending more time indoors than ever. Outdoor play is critical for children’s wellbeing, so it’s crucial to keep them in mind when designing your yards. For those living in or near a city, creating an outdoor space for your children can feel daunting. Whether you have minimal space or unique desires for your kids, the following will help you get the ball rolling with your project.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind while designing an outdoor space for kids:

Involve your child in the planning process. Get your children’s ideas for their ideal play space. While a rainbow rocket ship might not be attainable, they can certainly bring some needed imagination to the table. This space is for them after all.

Home Garden Magazine

Home Garden Magazine

Incorporate nature. An outdoor space is an opportunity for you and your child to experience nature, so why not make this a focal point. Natural materials can look more attractive and help to integrate the play area with the native surroundings.

Sunset Magazine

Sunset Magazine

Add in yard games. Yard games, like corn hole and horseshoes, are played in narrow strips of yard, and provide great entertainment for all ages. This could be an inventive solution to odd-shaped spaces or unused side yards.

Kristen Kendall-Smith

Kristen Kendall-Smith

Use the vertical spaces when you’re trying to maximize usable area in your yard. Unique elements, like an outdoor chalkboard or dart board, are perfect options. They take up little to no room, and can provide hours of entertainment.

Sam Henderson via HGTV

Sam Henderson via HGTV

Create multi-level play areas that fit into your space’s topography. Work with what you have, and in the end you’ll have an inventive space that fits in with the natural landscape. Multi-level areas can include features like slides and climbing walls.

Houzz

Houzz

Include a gardening area. This is a great opportunity to introduce your children to new activities they can enjoy in your backyard. This activity doesn’t take up much space, and taking care of plants may curb their desire for a new pony. Unlikely, but worth a shot!

Just Imagine

Just Imagine

Make space for active play. An empty area of hardscape or yard allows your child to evolve in their interests. Hardscape will be better for biking and skating, whereas grass can provide a cushion for more risky activities.

Jordan Sanchez

Jordan Sanchez

These cities offer rebates for going low-water with your landscaping

Go low (water, that is) and get rewarded. Rebates are available from municipalities across the country for swapping in water-saving equipment and replacing your lawn with drought-tolerant plants. Check program guidelines before you jump in: Some require a site inspection before you buy anything or make changes. And you must be a resident and a utility customer to get rebates.

ARIZONA

• Tempe

With the Landscape Rebate Program, get rebates for front-yard and backyard ($250 each) conversion of grass to desert landscaping or for new desert landscaping installation.

• Chandler

With the Landscape Rebate Program, receive rebates for irrigation controllers ($72), new landscaping that’s at least 50 percent drought-resistant ($200), and conversion of lawn to drought-tolerant landscape ($200–$600).

• Glendale

The city’s landscape rebates provide as much as $750 for converting grass to low-water-use landscape.

CALIFORNIA

• California: state-wide

Search by zip code for incentives and rebates in your area.

• Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies

SoCal Water$mart offers rebates for weather-based irrigation controllers (from $80 per controller for an acre or less; $25 per irrigation station for larger sites), rotating sprinkler nozzles (from $4 per nozzle), and synthetic turf (from 30 cents per sq. ft.).

• Santa Rosa

Green Exchange Rebate Program has rebates for removing turf (50 cents per sq. ft.) and for improving the efficiency of irrigation. The Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Program gives rebates for storing rainwater (25 cents per gallon). The Water Conservation Check-up is a free on-site analysis of indoor and outdoor water use.

• Windsor

With the Water Efficient Landscapes Rebate Program, get up to $350 in rebates for the removal of lawn or for the purchase of sprinkler equipment that improves efficiency.

• San Diego County Water Authority

The 20-Gallon Challenge offers free landscape surveys and has rebates for weather-based irrigation controllers (from $230), synthetic turf (50 cents per sq. ft.), and rotating nozzles (up to $4 each).

• East Bay Municipal Utility District

With WaterSmart Residential Landscape Program, get a credit with proof of purchase of drip irrigation parts and rotator sprinkler heads (50 percent of price), water-conserving landscaping plants and materials (25 percent of price), and permeable hardscape materials (up to $1 per sq. ft.).

• Marin Municipal Water District

Rebates on efficient irrigation equipment and supplies (up to $350), through the Bay-Friendly Landscaping Rebate Program.

COLORADO

• Aurora Water

Get rebates for water-conserving landscape changes (up to $1 per sq. ft.), through the Xeriscape Rebate Program. Aurora Water also offers free irrigation audits.

• Colorado Springs Utilities

Rebates available up to $200 for rain shutoff devices, irrigation heads with check valves, weather-based irrigation controllers, and matched precipitation sprinkler nozzles (which water more evenly and slowly than regular ones).

• Boulder

Drip irrigation supplies, sprinkler controllers, low volume nozzles, and soil amendments have rebates.

• Louisville

The Water Conservation Rebate Program gives rebates on buffalo grass (25 cents per sq. ft.), soil moisture sensors (up to $50), and drip irrigation systems (50 percent off purchase price, up to $50).

• Denver Water

Weather-based irrigation controllers (25 percent off price), rain sensors ($25–$50), and irrigation rotary nozzles ($5 per nozzle) get rebates.

Next: Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington 

NEVADA

• Southern Nevada Water Authority

The Water Smart Landscapes program gives rebates for converting grass to desert landscaping (up to $1.50 per sq. ft.), for rain sensors (up to $25), and for smart irrigation controllers (up to $200). Rebate coupons offered for pool covers (up to $200). You can also get a free Indoor Water Audit and Retrofit Kit to test fixtures.

NEW MEXICO

• Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

Get money back on multi-setting sprinkler controllers (25 percent off), rotor heads for sprinklers ($2 per head), rain sensors ($25), and for rainwater harvesting (up to $150), through the Outdoor Rebate Program.

OREGON

• Eugene Water & Electric Board

EWEB customers can get cash rebates for certain types of timers for lawn irrigation ($25).

UTAH

• Central Utah Water Conservancy District

Rebates for irrigation improvements (up to $150 for irrigation controller stations; 50 percent of hardware costs, up to $125) for nozzles, drip systems, etc., through Landscape Irrigation Product Rebates.

WASHINGTON

• Saving Water Partnership of Seattle and King County

Rebates (up to $375) for upgrading sprinkler systems or installing smart controllers are available.

• Cascade Water Alliance

In its Irrigation Efficiency Program, Cascade offers rebates for rain sensors and weather-based irrigation controllers (up to $400 for existing irrigation systems; up to $375 for new systems).

(This post was originally published on Sunset.com.)