Historical San Diego Architecture Styles
- Making Your Landscape Look Like San Diego
- Mission Style (c. 1600-1820)
- Spanish Colonial or Ranch Style (c. 1600-1840)
- Italian Renaissance Revival: Tuscan, Venetian (c. 1850s, 1925-1955)
- Victorian Style (c. 1800- early 1900s)
- American Craftsman Style (c. 1890 – 1950)
- Contemporary or Modern Style (early 1900s)
You will find that a trademark of a true San Diego home and landscape is to centralize all themes around entertaining and functionality.
Bring San Diego to your home, no matter where you live, to maximize your outdoor living spaces and dissipate the barriers between indoors and outdoors.
Making Your Landscape Look Like San Diego
Whether it’s to increase curb appeal or your luxury home’s ROI, a landscape is best renovated with the architectural style of the home in mind.
When considering landscape construction, you want to make sure that the style and function of your home flows seamlessly into the outdoors.
San Diego Climate and Outdoor Entertainment
The primary way to make your home and landscape look like San Diego is to pay special attention to landscaping styles common for the special climate.
This includes, but is not limited to the use of sand, succulents, and xeriscaping. Pools, porches, decks, patios, outdoor kitchens, and barbecues maximize an otherwise normal space to make it feel like a vacation destination all year round.
Luxury homes in San Diego frequently integrate fire pits or water features into their outdoor landscapes, to heat or cool for comfortability.
Interested in learning more about which plants are unique to San Diego? You can read more about choosing landscape foliage in our San Diego planting guide.
Historic and Cultural Styles of San Diego Architecture
In each of these architectural styles, we suggest our favorite complementary landscape designs, but don’t let us stop you from thinking outside the box!
Drawing from the deep architectural history of San Diego, there are really quite a variety of interchangeable whole home remodeling styles to choose from.
Mission Style (c. 1600-1820)
This architectural style is characterized by adobe that is typically cream or white washed in color.
This high baroque style of native Spain includes nostalgic corridors with arches, clay tile roofs, and unblemished walls.
Xeriscaping is the style that meshes the best with this architectural style.
The most beautiful tools of a “zero-scape” are stones of various colors, decorative beach glass, statuesque rocks, and textured sands or gravel.
Learn more about drought tolerant landscaping ideas for the minimalist, desert chic style that you crave.
Spanish Colonial or Ranch Style (c. 1600-1840)
Around the same time as Mission architecture became prevalent, other Spanish settlers took what they could find and created the beginning of what would become the “ranch-style” San Diego home.
Similar to the missionaries, these settlers sure loved their rustic materials of adobe, wood, and tile – but they preferred a one-story with a lavish garden.
These settlers centered their living around the porch area, which acted as an outdoor living room. This style is popularized by its gabled roofs, exposed roof beams, lack of interior doors, and open floor plan.
The low rooflines, open windows, and high ceilings erase the barriers between San Diegans and the beautiful climate.
This garden style is often embellished with a romantic fountain or waterfall, giving the impression of moisture and greenery – while still requiring minimal watering.
Italian Renaissance Revival: Tuscan, Venetian Style (c. 1850s, 1925-1955)
If you are looking for a unique and lavish style, try an Italian-influenced or Mediterranean architectural style in your next home remodel.
Influenced by the styles of the Italian renaissance, common trademarks are stone or stucco facades, embellished with intricate iron-work and wooden doors.
Mosaic tiles give and old lantern style light fixtures really make you feel like you’re in another country.
Pretend you’re a Venetian or Roman aristocrat with grand columns and expanded staircases, creating a dream castle for your luxury home and landscape.
Hardscapes and patio designs with strong stone or garden accents create authentically European grandeur.
Victorian Style (c. 1800- early 1900s)
Victorian styles are popularized all over the country but, in San Diego, they seem to have a special character of their own.
This home climbs right up into the heavens, tall and sinewy in comparison to dwellings that lie close to the earth.
It’s beauty and refinement mirror the original inhabitants. These homes were built extravagantly and with rich wooden craftsmanship to serve the wealthy patrons within.
You can recognize this style easily for its bold colors, balconies, porches, curves, and towering heights. Typically 2-3 stories high, these homes were functionally meant to entertain, to dine, and to house the many guests, or servants, that visited there.
This home looks most beautiful with a meandering, larger landscape. Even if you are limited on backyard
space, adding statues, pruned hedges, paved walkways, and roses compliments this formal style.
American Craftsman Style (c. 1890 – 1950)
This understated style is characterized by the quality of craftsmanship which is identified in the finer embellishments of the home’s composition.
As it’s name suggests, every design element of the home is based on the inimitable work of skilled tradesmen.
While expensive to own, these homes embody a wholesome, cozy, cottage feeling because of the primarily wood and stone materials used.
This architectural style usually sports a wooden facade of the whole home, with a pitched roof, and fine, craftsman-like details, such as wood cutouts.
This style is easily complemented by a green lawn, but this architecture can work with any landscape design.
Decide which works best for you, whether it be xeriscaping, zen, feng shui, or a more formal garden.
Contemporary or Modern Style (early 1900s)
While there were several resurgences of Spanish architecture, the Modern style architects did not want to look behind – they were thinking of the future.
Eclectic and extraordinary, these visionary homes can be likened to the pop-culture and hard edge styles of the early 1950s and 60s.
With a flat roof (and maybe a sun-deck), steel materials, concrete, and white color palettes made this style reminiscent of the industrial age..
Hardscape patio construction is very effective to complement the hard edges of the modern or contemporary style of design.
Again, don’t be limited by our suggestion, this is the most highly customizable design! This is where creativity really took its stance – and so can you!
It’s really no wonder that San Diego is on every major list of the “Best Places to Vacation” in the United States. It has the perfect weather to optimize your enjoyment of both indoor and outdoor spaces.