Connecting Architecture with Nature

Bliss Landscape Architecture designs regionally inspired landscapes that link architecture to nature with artistic and inviting outdoor spaces and gardens. We are a full-service, licensed landscape architectural firm specializing in residential, estate and winery projects throughout Central and Northern California. With office locations in the Monterey Bay Area, Bliss Landscape Architecture pursues inspired collaborations with many of the design industry’s top professionals and contractors, resulting in refined, comprehensive and unified design solutions.

Experience + Vision

Michael Bliss is the owner and principal designer of B|LA. With over 20 years of professional experience designing award winning landscapes, Michael brings a well-rounded and intuitive design understanding to every project. A California native, Michael studied at the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he received the Award of Merit for excellence in the study of Landscape Architecture.

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Latest Projects & News

Golden Oak Residence

This renovated modern home by Feldman Architecture sits on a knoll in the Portola Valley foothills. Updated from it’s 90’s roots, the project reveals opportunities in unifying architecture to site by inspired forms, common materials and by referencing panoramic views to the Stanford foothills and Silicon Valley.

As a reflection of the client’s lifestyle, the landscape has been re-envisioned as a sophisticated family playground, responsive to it’s surrounding oak and pine forest and dry climate. Openness and expansion are balanced with layered and wild edges, accentuating a sense of invite and refuge.

Carmel Meadows Residence

A courtyard house near the shores of Carmel Bay, this project establishes an intimate connection between indoor and outdoor space. Framed courtyards create functional view gardens, sheltered from the elements while inviting light and sculptural plant form into an immediate relationship with the interior spaces.

The ground plane is both recessed and lifted to provide additional layering as experienced from inside and outside the home. A sunken firepit lounge provides a unique gathering space for outdoor movies and entertaining. Quiet inspiration brings a calm ambiance/atmosphere/mood. Light is filtered and focused, animating surfaces and volumes throughout the project, such as the lower bedroom, by way of a large reflection pool which acts as a mirror to the sky above.

Potrero Residence

This secluded woodland property in the hills above Carmel Valley provides wonderful opportunities for a family home and terraced landscape. Nestled amongst heritage oaks and sunny meadows, the home site affords windowed views through the canopy to distant ridges. Working closely with the arborist and architect, development boundaries were established that preserve the woodland and native meadow while capturing the best views. Access is established from the non-view side of the home, providing uncluttered, natural landscape vistas from the primary spaces. A walled court serves as both entry threshold and outdoor entertainment space, with cooking, fire and seating opportunities within the afternoon light.

Pebble Beach Residence

Perched on a sloping 2-acre site and set within the enchanting Del Monte forest, this new Pebble Beach home occupies two primary levels. Arriving at a generous gravel court, the house frames and captures intimate views through the entry and into a natural garden court. Separation of indoor and outdoor space are blurred by establishing a strong landscape graphic quality that carries through transparent sections of the architecture.

The designed landscape is anchored by walled terraces that connect architecture to site with formal bosques of olives and pistachio. A lower shaded meadow holds the pool in a garden setting, giving way to the native oaks and pines. Structural hedge plantings east of the pool provide a windbreak to the cool coastal breeze, while also providing a visual break from the driveway.

El Robledo

Having graced the cover of Sunset Magazine in 1945, this historic property was developed in 1934 for the American cartoonist, Hank Ketcham. B | LA was commissioned to undertake a total site renovation, including restoration of the grounds surrounding the original adobe home and guest house. In response to the owner’s active lifestyle and epicurean interests, master planning efforts incorporate a pool lounge, sauna, farm kitchen, vegetable garden, hobby vineyard, and olive orchard.

With the goal to remain true to the original vernacular of the Hugh Comstock adobe ranch home, materials were selected to both unify and pay homage to the context and historic qualities of the property. Recycled Carmel stone pavers, adobe block walls, and gravel courtyards lend an inherent casual quality to the outdoor living spaces and gardens.

Cabin Carmel

Within an oak-studded postage stamp lot in Carmel-by-the-Sea, this modern family cabin maintains a cozy composure while finding expansiveness in highly integrated indoor-outdoor spaces. Multiple layers of built and plant form help to blur the property boundaries. Strategically placed trees, hedging, low walls, and fencing maximize a sense of privacy and spaciousness. Subdued materials, such as board form concrete and vertical timbers, provide balance with the richly textured oaks, pines, and cypress that ring the property.

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