Just inside USDA Zone 10a [coastal Southern California] / Sunset Zone 24 [room temperature often], lies this apartment complex. I often drove by it when I lived in San Diego 25 years ago, going to my nearby aunt’s / uncle’s home, or a friend’s bachelor pad. I never paid it another look, except to get through Clairemont and their often marginal areas quickly.
How I’ve changed my thinking about Mid-Century Modern architecture, which I mostly disliked then. Or anything that fell into disrepair in need of renovation. Now I see the great bones – including plants.
Plus, I was born near the end of the Mid-Century period, and I’m heading towards a mid-century age. How time flies…
Photos from my vacation in mid-January 2014 –
This is where minor pruning of the tree, to see the sign better, would make all the difference in the world. I think it’s a Carrotwood, but I may be wrong…if so, that’s an invasive in some areas.
Such flowering, but they had a warm winter. It was also a dry winter, and the media has covered their uber-drought. That part of San Diego, though not as hot as further inland, only averages 9″ of rain / year and most in winter – they are up to 2.90″ for 2014. They depend on water from the few watersheds in the mountains to the east, plus the Colorado River.
All are good reasons to renovate using low water-use native and adapted plants, while protecting the existing palm root zones from drying out.
A neutral-toned mulch, inorganic or organic depending on additional plants desired, would really go further. Then again, so would some additional, suitable plantings.
In some markets, this type of place with such architecture, but add interesting hardscape to existing planting bones – and 10 minutes from legendary beaches and countless local amenities – would be renovated and priced into the stratosphere. Not that San Diego is cheap, but somehow this spot is escaping such gentrification.
It would be great to form a quality design-build team, then get paid to renovate a number of details on this property – architecture to the site, grading, water harvesting, and landscape! But in a way that present renters are not priced out of their homes. I would certainly be game.
That grouping of stately, huge “cacti” looks like yet another Euphorbia for milder places than mine…but there just perfect to work around. (yes, I said work-around:-)
This space implies some low walls, part paving and part sandy beach to relax on in more style. I’m also picturing complimentary plantings, mostly a mix of xeric flowering plants – including locally native species – and varying heights of succulents.
Since it’s San Diego, with Palomar Observatory not far away, dark night sky laws will negate the idea of uplighting of the palms can occur. But more modest changes are all that may be needed here?
What do you think?