Jamie Durie’s very personal version of The Outdoor Room
May 28th, 2011
I’ve been after celebrity garden designer Jamie Durie for more than a year to let me come and do a story about his personal Los Angeles backyard. I sensed he was stalling because, like many of us who make gardens (or write about them) for a living, our own outdoor environment is the LAST thing to receive our attention!
Turns out, Jamie and his producers of “The Outdoor Room” on HGTV were cooking up big plans for his hillside property in Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon.
Jamie reimagined the long-neglected yard, dominated by a vintage 1950s swimming pool, into a gorgeous series of outdoor living spaces. The magical transformation occurred over a three week time, and became the debut episode of The Outdoor Room’s season three, which aired earlier this year (you can see a schedule of re-runs of this episode by following this link).
In late February, I received an out-of-the-blue phone call from Jamie, saying: “The garden is finished – you’re invited to come see it!” Wow – this guy is good to his word.
We had a narrow window of a couple week’s time in which I could get down to LA for a photo shoot and interview, since Jamie was about to fly back to Australia for several weeks to shoot another show there. Whew. That guy lives a marathon life and makes it all look effortless. But we made it work. Here is my profile of Jamie’s project, which appears in today’s print and online editions of The Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles Times sent one of its very best photographers, Irfan Khan, to document the beautiful landscape. You can check out his web gallery of gorgeous shots here. I also took lots of reference photos to use while writing the story, and thought I’d post some of my favorites below.
Jamie asked me to include the many great resources he used to pull together this extreme garden makeover. So in case you’re curious, here is that list:
Resources & Materials
Bath: “The Outdoor Room” craftsman Steve Zimpel created the bath using recycled cedar from Durie’s original design.
Decking: Fiberon composite decking
Doors: LaCantina bi-fold doors
Fire: Escea outdoor gas fireplace; Durie Design Fire Pit
Furniture: Walter Lamb for Brown and Jordan reproduction chairs and chaises from Design Within Reach; all-weather wicker sectional, Durie Design.
Kitchen: Fuego modular kitchen.
Vertical garden system: Woolly Pockets
Pool Makeover: Jamie worked with Aric Entwistle of Los Angeles-based H2o Development Inc. to replace a conventional chlorine system with Spectralight, which uses ultraviolet light to kill pathogens and waterborne bacteria. The renovated pool is solar heated with a system from Suntopia Solar. A new infinity edge was fabricated over the original coping using carbon fiberglass, resin, high-tensile adhesives and several coats of waterproofing. It’s finished with Bisazza glass mosaic tiles.
At the end of my interview with Jamie, he talks about how much he enjoys living here. And it’s a perfect way to sum up the feelings I also had being in the highly personal garden environment:
“Life just seems a whole lot more hectic in Sydney,” Durie says. “You can’t say that about Laurel Canyon. All I ever hear are birds. I’ve got squirrels running along the top of my green wall. An owl moved in once I finished the garden, and we’re starting to be visited by a ton of hummingbirds. I may not have kangaroos and koalas, but it’s kind of fun telling my mates back home that I’ve got coyotes in the canyon.”
Thank you for sharing your garden, Jamie. It was a treat! I hope you slow down long enough to really enjoy it~