First and foremost, if Jeff and Kelly Mindell get a reality show and it's called 'Mixin' it up with the Mindells', it's because of me. I demand credit.
Secondly, THEIR BACK YARD REVEAL IS LIVE AND I JUMPED FOR JOY TO SEE IT!
A bit of background on the process since I know we're only here for the before and after pics (no judgment here - I'm guilty of the same).
1) I was connected to the Mindells through loads of mutual friends (shoutout to Meghan, Angelena, Nikki, Tamara, and CJ), but I didn't know anything about their brand or online presence. I foolishly based my first design on the color representation of their individual Instagram profiles. It was bright, vibrant, and floral. Lesson learned for me. Tamp down the excitement and start by listening to their outdoor goals. Like, don't include flowers when Kelly low-key mentions, "I'd like flowers if they weren't so ugly." #deaddeaddead Thankfully, they stuck with me (I think because I didn't give them a choice), and they ended up going a route that thrills me, but I would have never expected from them - MONOCHROME. If I had a dollar for every client I've tried to convince that green on green on green is the most stylish choice they could make, I'd be rich. But I'd also have no clients because most folks aren't on board with that choice.
2) I designed with Arlo (one of my top five friends, tbh) in mind. Just like I'll design with your animals in mind, if you have them. Adults enjoy landscape with their eyes. Kids and animals interact with landscaping. So that meant nothing toxic, nothing pokey. Thus the soft, broad leaves, and gentle textures were brought in. For those concerned about the agave - this is (I believe) the only soft agave. It's an agave attenuata - or foxtail agave - which has broad, petal like leaves that bend and move with touch.
3) A word on the most polarizing part of their yard - the faux turf. Man oh man. People have FEELINGS about this. And I get it. But I also know California will likely never be out of the drought they're in (despite what some say about one season of rain), and giving your family a soft, green space to play is GREAT. It takes an incredible amount of water to keep your lawn looking healthy, and in a place like Southern California where some grass stays green year round, that is literally thousands of dollars a month heading to the Department of Water and Power. (Ask me sometime about the months I spent showering at the gym just to try and get a break on my landlord's mandatory lawn watering bill.) The good news is there are actually some great faux options now. In the past, I've preferred SynLawn because they have child friendly, pet friendly, non toxic options. I know the Mindells went with another vendor that had the same options. But let's all hang up our judgmental hats for a bit and agree that faux turf really works in their yard. (Let's also all put our judgmental hats back on and agree to NEVER cover an entire front yard with it. No no no.)
4) The power of bender board! Instagram is down at the time I'm writing this, otherwise I'd put up a poll asking how many of you would like to see a photo shoot of Jeff cuddling with bender board. There are many different types of landscape edging, but we used 100% recycled plastic edging bender board to create beds and separate areas for the yard. The result was clean lines between everything, which gives the space a stylish, clean look. No one is more happy with this than Jeff, who may have lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw it.
5) Finally - on a personal note, I'm grateful for the Mindells as clients. Going off on your own is always a step into the unknown. They were one of my first clients, and they couldn't have been kinder, more generous, or understanding. I hope that all of you who endeavor to start something new are fortunate to work with people like them. (Also, installing their project gave me melasma on my upper lip and I think of them every time I look in the mirror and see my skin 'stache. Sigh.)