Evoking the appearance of a private Japanese courtyard, this
front-yard remodel captures new privacy and better defines the entry.
Designer-builder Daryl Rush of Piedmont, California, ringed the front of
the L-shaped house with a stucco-and-wood fence and moved the front gate
up close to the sidewalk. Outside, the fence presents a series of blank
panels to the street; inside, it creates a tranquil courtyard with two
For fence posts, Rush used massive 3-by-16 posts recycled from a
pier; they’re joined by 2-by-4 stud walls covered with
builder’s felt, wire screening, and stucco. A pagoda-like redwood
cap tops the fence; a cedar-shingled gable roof defines the double gate.
As the picture at left shows, a path of flat stones leads from the
street down the gently sloped yard to a broad patio. Winding among the
stones, a shallow trough carries a trickle of water from the upper pond
to the lower one.