Landscaping Design Tips for Malibu Homes

Landscaping Design Tips for Malibu Homes

  • Mark Gruskin
  • 04/20/23

Malibu is the quintessential California town — palm trees sway lazily in the breeze, the turquoise waters of the Pacific glitter in the lemony sunshine, and beach culture is at its best. The elegance here is delightfully relaxed, and you are more likely to see a surfboard tucked under a resident’s arm than a Birkin. The laid-back atmosphere in Malibu allows its denizens to leave behind the hustle of LA and embrace the ease of coastal living.

The luxury real estate market in Malibu includes some of the world’s most impressive properties. Point Dume real estate features sweeping ocean vistas and the rustic beauty of waterfront bluffs, while Malibu Road estates add drama and glamour to seaside life. Whether you find a cozy cottage, bohemian beach bungalow, or grand estate, the homes here provide the ultimate in luxe details. While interior design is often front and center in the quest for luxury home perfection, curb appeal is just as important. Your property’s yard, lawn, driveway, and even mailbox offer a first impression of what’s to come, so read on to learn how to maximize your landscaping potential.

Find perfection with a plan

Before you pick up a trowel or call the landscaping company, prepare a solid plan. Although it can be tempting to dive in immediately, especially if you are new to Malibu’s lovely climate and breathtaking vistas, resist the urge to take action before forming a cohesive plan. Whether you are thrilled about a DIY project or intend to work with an experienced gardener, you’ll be happiest with the end result if you take some time to design the entire area first.

As you walk through your outdoor space, consider your lifestyle — do you entertain often and require an abundance of seating, outdoor dining areas, and a bar on either side of the pool? Or do you prefer cozy nooks, hummingbird gardens, and complete privacy? How you spend your days will inform your design, so find clarity on that before you begin.

The shape and layout of your property will also factor significantly in your landscaping plan. Consider drainage when designing seating areas, furniture placement, and structures like fire pits or spa areas to ensure water drains away, especially with beachfront Point Dume homes. Malibu enjoys sunny skies most days of the year, but water from gardening, lawn maintenance, or wild waves could potentially affect your design if not carefully planned.

Once you have an idea of how you will use your outdoor space, you can open the door to your perfect landscaping design. Even if you don’t finish the entire landscaped area in one go, your plan ensures every spot will shine with both function and form.

Coordinate landscaping and home styles

6271 Zuma Mesa Dr, Malibu. Photo courtesy of Mark Gruskin

Your home’s landscape acts as an extension of the interior design to create a seamless flow of beauty and cohesion. Walls and glass may separate the two, but the design scheme of one should complement the other.

For example, if your Malibu Road beach house features the neutral palate and easy charm of classic coastal style, you may not want to fill your yard with sharp lines, dark colors, or industrial sculptures. In keeping with the coastal theme, perhaps you would choose natural materials like teak or bamboo, soft shades to complement the sandy beach, and benches to take in the view. A minimalist interior scheme may call for more manicured gardens and lighting with simple shapes or straight lines, while a luxe Hollywood Regency interior creates the perfect opportunity for elaborate fountains and birds of paradise plants lining a grand entrance. Whichever style you prefer, make sure your designs coordinate for a cohesive flow.

Embrace color

With blue skies and candy-colored sunsets as Malibu’s backdrop, landscaping is free to embrace color through its plants and flowers. If blue is the running theme throughout the home, you may opt for bushes of blue hydrangea to complement the interior. If you opt for a neutral or white color scheme for the property’s interior, you can make the landscaping pop with color by exploring rich shades of green and white. You might also use this as an opportunity to throw a dash of shocking pink or yellow into the garden.

Add lighting

Lighting can transform a backyard from basic to beautiful with the flip of a switch. With a few simple choices, you can create everything from a gorgeous, softly-lit dinner party to a whimsical fairy garden.

Incorporate existing elements

While it may feel like you are starting from scratch when designing the landscape of a new home, your property holds more answers than you might realize. Even odd spaces or seemingly useless areas can be alchemized into stunning spots for socializing or lounging. For example, a hidden nook might be transformed into the perfect afternoon reading retreat with a beachy hammock, stone walkway, and built-in bar. Take a walk through your yard before finalizing your plan, and let your creativity go wild.

Use strategic hardscaping

Hardscaping includes permanent structures or those requiring thoughtful installation, like patios, driveways, fire pits, fountains, and walkways — basically, anything that is not considered plant life. You will definitely want to include any hardscaping ideas in your landscaping plan before making changes to your yard, as these elements are not easily revised. The ideal landscaping scheme includes a balanced mix of hardscape elements and gardens and can be designed to fit any lifestyle.

Create an outdoor spa

27927 Pacific Coast Hwy. Malibu Photo courtesy of Mark Gruskin

Malibu’s balmy climate and sunny skies set an ideal scene for alfresco luxury, so make the most of the spectacular backdrop with an outdoor spa. Pools with saltwater elements or infinity designs are obvious choices, but you can also elevate the spa experience with an in-ground hot tub. While classic jacuzzis can look clunky and dated, the in-ground version has a stylish, Mediterranean appeal. Natural swimming pools also enhance the vibe and are surprisingly simple to maintain. A throwback to Old Hollywood, natural swimming pools provide all the cool, splashy thrill of a traditional pool sans the chemicals and concrete.

Are you interested in exploring the Malibu real estate market? Contact Mark Gruskin today to begin touring properties.

*Header photo courtesy of Mark Gruskin

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