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La Jolla Modern

A Gem on Mt. Soledad

Modern Look with a tropical feel

Our La Jolla homeowner had a clear vision; he wanted a clean modern look with crisp lines and a tropical feel for his approximately 4,800 sq ft backyard. His beautiful home on Mt. Soledad had a pre-existing rectangular pool and ipe (pronounced “ee-pay”), wood deck off the back door; both of which would be components reflected (and replicated) within the design of the landscape.

The home is surrounded by 40-year-old trees that were planted during the initial build of the La Jolla neighborhood and are now of specimen size and worth many thousands of dollars. A spectacular Dragon Tree (Dracaena Draco, native to the Canary Islands), large Ficus (Ficus Benjamina, native to Asia, Australia and West Indies) and Canary Palms dominate the vista of the backyard and were an excellent and unexpected addition in giving the landscape the lush and tropical feel that the homeowner desired.


To replicate the lines of the rectangular pool, we installed an ipe wood border along the edge of the pool and a raised deck on the Northern end of the pool. Ipe wood does not retain heat like some other wood, so the decking will never be too hot to walk on despite being in direct sunlight.

Ipe, often referred to as Brazilian walnut due to the fact that it hails from South America, is desirable because it is naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, weather, and insects. Ipe is extremely dense and hard and lasts up to 75 years due to the natural oils within the wood making it an ideal, albeit a luxury choice for outdoor use. 

In contrast to the smooth wood, Landscape Assistance installed a lush, low maintenance, drought-resistant hybrid Bermuda lawn. Though lawns have become uncommon in Southern California some homeowners opt to have them installed and Landscape Assistance commonly recommends this variety and has it installed as sod. Sod installation is quick and provides instant results. Hybrid Bermuda sod, in particular, possesses a nice denseness, lush texture, grows and repairs itself quickly which makes it a great choice high traffic areas, athletic fields or parks.

cohesive and contained

The original La Jolla home came with a pool and the homeowner wanted to keep the pool but update the look without a full replacement. Swimming pool installation requires a separate contracting license, so Landscape Assistance works with many trusted local pool contractors and referred the homeowner to Berny’s Pool Service, a San Diego company that has specialized in existing pool redesign since 1982. The pool retained its original rectangular shape but received an updated pool pump, a new bottom and tiled backdrop with Berny’s expert craftsmanship. 

Around the updated pool pump, Landscape Assistance built a structure out of ipe wood to disguising the equipment from the front and making it accessible via the back.

High quality beach pebble rock in the blue/dark blue variety was used throughout the landscape in addition to Phoenix Robellini palms, hibiscus, colorful anigozanthos and variegated dianella plants. The installed plant material was chosen for their tropical feel, colorful foliage, low maintenance reputation and drought tolerance.

Custom Design and Tropical RELAXATION

Landscape Assistance built and installed two freestanding ipe wood structures to perfectly frame and accent the backdrop of the updated pool. By adding this design element, Landscape Assistance achieved a cohesive and contained look creating the lush, private and tropical paradise with a modern feel the homeowner desired.

© 2019 – Jeff Smith Landscape Assistance Inc. | Contractors License #487837 | Contact Us: 760-740-1343