Endless Summer: Landscape Design With Water Conservation

Landscape Design With Water Conservation

A journey to transform a garden and find beauty, serenity and sustainability. Problem: An East-Coast garden under a California sky; Soulless, uninviting, and thirsty. Solution: Start with a blank slate. Welcome with a lively tapestry of fascinating, region-appropriate plants that put nature back into the garden and help rediscover its soul. At some time after purchasing this Southern California home, it occurred to the homeowner how unwelcoming its existing landscape was: The … [Read more...]

Getting Back To Nature – Xeriscape Landscaping With California Natives

flower meadow

A recent visit to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden brought me much delight and revived my old love for a landscape type that we rarely see here in Southern California: An urban haven entirely dedicated to the cultivation and exhibition of a California native-scape. This is a jewel of a garden situated south of the San Gabriel foothills which offers a great example of xeriscape landscaping. The 86 acres are beautifully designed and entirely planted with cultivars and wild species of native … [Read more...]

When in drought: Fall in love with water wise landscape

water wise landscape

With the recent rains, it’d be easy to forget last year’s water worries - if it weren't for the memory of our ever rising water bills! Winter isn’t over yet and more rain is in the forecast, but our overall water shortage and Southern California’s water dependence are a serious problem that is not likely to go away any time soon. This challenge shouldn’t fill your hearts with dread however: In the following I’m going to show you how water conservation can be turned into a pleasurable task … [Read more...]

Get ready for a most promising planting season: Here are some beauties for plant-aholics to drool over Part III

Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’

(In my previous posts Get ready for a promising planting season: Here are some beauties for plant-aholics to drool over Part I and Get ready for a promising planting season: Here are some beauties for plant-aholics to drool over Part II I presented a selection of promising plants that have fascinated me for a long time and that I find useful for many landscape designs. The following is the next installment to my previous posts.) After the long summer months, the cooler days after a rain are … [Read more...]

Get ready for a promising planting season: Here are some beauties for plant-aholics to drool over Part II

low water plants

In my previous post, I wrote about very enticing plant discoveries that will make our drought resistant landscape designs more varied, interesting and satisfying. Here are more of these plants: On a recent visit to Waterwise Botanicals, respected nursery/grower of California friendly plants in Bonsall , I noticed the delicate form and pretty flowers of a small tree crowning a planting vignette of succulents and waterwise perennial grasses , on a small mound. Here’s how the grower … [Read more...]

Get ready for a promising planting season: Here are some beauties for plant-aholics to drool over Part I

drought tolerant plants

The recent untimely heat wave is barely forgotten, but I‘m noticing the first signs that many of our water-wise plants have awakened from their summer beauty rest: Their green branch tips and new leaves are proof that they are actively growing again. With the cooler nights and fresh breezes announcing fall, my impatience is growing to be out in the garden; I’d want to be planting and trying out some of the exciting plants that I have noticed in the recent months and that I could barely stop … [Read more...]

Better Beds with Shrubs, Part ll

Two Round Leaf Tea Trees

As trees represent the “ceiling” in the garden room, shrubs can act as dividers or walls, as highlights, focal points, or screens. Plant materials are one of the most important design elements for the floor, the walls and ceiling of outdoor rooms. They are living elements and need special care in selection and placement in the landscape. In my previous post, I wrote about the many functions that shrubs can fill in the landscape, and how vital they are for a sustainable landscape design to … [Read more...]

Better Beds with Shrubs Part 1

Shrubs placed to hide the boundaries

  For me as a landscape designer placing shrubs in a design is as natural as adding sweetener to my desserts; I’m so sure of their benefits (shrubs, that is) that I never think much about them. However, they have, perhaps the most important place in a home landscape design, and a recent visit at the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon where many spectacular specimens were in bloom, made me realize how effective shrubs are in any landscape, and so I thought I’d investigate their … [Read more...]

San Diego … Drought Proof Your Landscape, Part 2

Xeriscape is rewarding

In my previous post, San Diego … Drought Proof Your Landscape, Part 1, I explained the term “xeriscape” and outlined several water-smart landscaping ideas and the first steps towards a water-wise landscape that is beautiful and yet sustainable. Here are the remaining steps a well as valuable resources. 5. Now that you are making voids in your garden (by eliminating certain unsustainable plants), perhaps it’s time to splurge on a few new hardscape elements (patios, walkways, shade pergolas)? In … [Read more...]

San Diego … Drought Proof Your Landscape

Lush xeriscape example

Here’s what you can do to protect your landscape during San Diego’s drought and to do it in style, incidentally. Yesterday morning I stepped outside with my breakfast cereal to soak in the warm sunshine and see what’s going on in my garden.  Following the buzz of the bees drawn by the sweet scent of Orange blossoms wafting through the garden, I found the Orange tree covered with flowers – what a joy to see! Taking a deep breath, my eyes scanned the garden, and it struck me that the Plum tree … [Read more...]