wooden forms - the same technique used to construct rammed-earth houses.

Sculpting the top of the 20-foot-long curving wall gave it the look of weathered adobe, helping it blend unobtrusively into a landscape dominated by native oaks and wild grasses. Its texture adds to the illusion of age; the wall was made rough and pitted in some areas and plaster smooth in others by varying the degree of compaction.

The mix of reddish soil, cement and sand blends with the flagstone patio. Bands of gray and tan soil, like strata exposed in a rocky cliff were also

layered in during construction.

From the wall, the three by six foot barbecue extends into the patio. A rectangular firebox was set into the top of the peninsula, and an air vent extended from the bottom of the firebox through the rear wall. An adjustable-height grill frame rises above the waist-high counter, which has plenty of room for food preparation and display.

The barbecue center was designed by Jeffrey Reed of Rammed Earth Works.

By Peter O. Whiteley

LIKE RUINS in a field, the craggy wall rises amid wild grasses. The wall shields views of a patio and pool.
117 SUNSET (1993)