In the hilly terrain of the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve seen countless backyards that slope up steeply behind the house. More often than not, this portion of the yard is left to its own wild devices, which can be lovely – but dull. So I was quite delighted a couple of weeks ago when I was at a dinner party in Marin, and strolled casually out the back door of my hosts’ home into the most beautiful and functional ski-slope backyard that I’ve seen to date. My jaw literally dropped.
The central focal point of the yard was a perfectly proportioned waterfall, which brought a spa-like ambiance to the entire outdoor living space. When you think about it, the naturally steep hillsides of our region are ideally suited to waterfalls! Would be great to see more of them! At the foot of the waterfall was a cozy outdoor gathering space, with a stone fire pit and simple bench seating. A few steps down and off to one side was an intimate outdoor dining room, partially surrounded by a wall of greenery. We ate dinner outdoors, where we could hear the murmur of the waterfall in the background.
Perched at the very top of the hillside, boasting a birds-eye view of Marin, was a little open-air “treehouse” (built on the ground, though, not literally in a tree.) Peaceful and isolated, smelling faintly of cedar, it seemed the perfect place to write or think or dream. Exquisite.