Collection by Linda Taalman

Hollywood Renovation: Week 5

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In this exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on, tight-budgeted renovation of her and her partner's live-work rental in Los Angeles. Week 5 project: Starting the garden.

One of the critical spaces in the Courtyard Apartments is the courtyard. Our living spaces essentially double in size when we open the sliding doors. When we first moved in, the courtyards were intact but they needed a horticultural makeover; each space had an hodge-podge of bachelor plants, with conflicting watering needs. We immediately saw potential for developing an urban native plants garden and a small kitchen garden. We are doing it slowly as a project with Oleana on the weekends. So far we’ve made a dent in our edibles and planted a couple of aromatic sages. Over the next couple months we will be planting, designing seating, and creating an outdoor play space for kids. Stay tuned!

To see images of the project, please visit the slideshow. Click here to read past installments of the series.

When we first moved in, we found the back courtyard filled with a strange and sad houseplants.
Another 'before' photo.
Upon removing the plants in front courtyard we discovered the wood wall needed to be rebuilt.
Our inspiration was 'From Seed to Skillet,' by Jimmy Williams, who is a fixture at the local Hollywood Farmers Market...
Our winter choices included beets, cauliflower and fennel.
We planted the winter edibles at an afternoon gathering with friends and kids.
Here's a picture of last fall's late tomato plants, now replaced by snowpeas.
Worms! Kids love 'em.
For the urban garden without enough dirt, you can buy a Wooly Pocket 'Meadow.' Because mint can be an invasive menace...
Here's the young garden, with a sage and sagebrush and ceanothus from Theodore Payne Foundation, and edibles from...
The lemon tree we found under a bougainvillea bush finally grows as it gets the sun it always wanted.
My collection of potted plants from all our previous apartment spaces that had no dirt.
Our succulent cuttings are happy after the recent rains.
Here's a future project space at the entry court: the old bbq.
The front garden needs some work.
This tree—species unidentified—must have been planted by an early resident.
This is the view of the tree canopy from upstairs.
The backyard is currently more of an urban zoo, given over to kids and skunks.
On a typical workday, this is the view from our conference/dining table.
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