Land of Plenty


Teryl Ciarlo of Teryl Designs Landscaping amplifies the backyard for a client returning to California after years of living in London.

Boxwood privacy hedges surround the property. Photo by Karyn Millet.
Photo by Karyn Millet.

One of the hallmarks of West Coast design is our preoccupation with indoor-outdoor living. Blessed with good weather for a large portion of the year, we spend as much time outside in our yards and gardens as we do inside our homes, counting them as another living space for reading, relaxing, hanging out and entertaining. “The garden should magical and inviting,” says Teryl Ciarlo of Teryl Designs Landscaping who designed this Rustic Canyon home’s outdoor landscaping.

Photo by Karyn Millet.
Climbing roses cover the pool house. Photo by Karyn Millet.

Ciarlo has the talent for coaxing the most out of these spaces, conducting the many facets of Mother Nature — weather, plants, furniture, shade and sun — to work in harmony. “I really love and respect nature and view every yard or garden as an opportunity to enhance the beauty of the space,” she says. Ciarlo also believes that the home and garden should be stylistically compatible. “Hardscape and softscape components should work in harmony to create a beautiful overall design that best complements the architecture of the home,” she stresses.

Boston Ivy climbs over the new home, bestowing instant age and charm.
Ciarlo encouraged her client to replace the home’s wood patio with bluestone pavers, and extend them into the garden to create a setting for her frequent parties.
Photo by Karyn Millet.

After years of living in London, Ciarlo’s client and her three children were returning to California. The client was eager to imbue her new home, a sprawling wood-shingled traditional-style new structure with a large covered front porch that ran the length of the house and overlooked the front yard, with that same sense of history and age she’d experienced in the U.K. She turned to Ciarlo for help.

Ciarlo created the home’s classical rose garden, surrounded by boxwood hedges, on the hill at the back of the property where it looks out over house.

Though the one acre space presented three major challenges that Ciarlo would need to address — the landscape was thick with tropical foliage; the backyard was situated on a hill; and, most of the front yard was located in front of the house with a man-made stream running along one side of it — Ciarlo was confident that landscaping would transform the home from a run-of-the-mill spec into a charming cottage befitting the client’s dreams.

A seating area, nestled in the rose garden, is a quiet place for afternoon tea. Photo by Karyn Millet.

Ciarlo started by removing the garden’s tropical plants, which were at odds with the home’s architecture, donating what she could to a local school. She trained Boston Ivy to climb the home’s shingles. “It’s a classic way to age a home while adding charm,” she says. It also supports Southern California’s environmental concerns. “Climbing roses and ivy help shield a house from direct light and help keep it cool,” Ciarlo notes, “I try to encourage my clients to become eco-conscious and environmentally-aware.” She landscaped the banks of the man-made stream so that it disappeared into terrain while still providing a musical accompaniment to the garden.

Photo by Karyn Millet.

Mature trees, including coastal live oaks, fruit and citrus trees, were planted, providing shade, harmonizing with home’s traditional lines, and creating a rhythm of light and dark throughout the property. The client loves roses so DiCarlo coaxed Eden climbing roses to cover the pool house. On the hilltop backyard that is the rear garden, she created a traditional English rose garden, which corrals many varieties of David Austin roses within its boxwood hedged boundaries. Taller boxwood hedges encircling the home’s perimeter not only provide privacy, they underline the storybook magic of the secret garden Ciarlo has created within.

Carlo trims the pool house’s Eden climbing roses. Photo by Karyn Millet.

“I am really into making sure each corner of the garden counts,” she says, “A lot of thought goes into the process so that there is no wasted space.”