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...]

The Eye-Catching Bromeliad – No Tenderfoot in the Drought Resistant Landscape

Aechmea recurvata

In my previous post I wrote about terrestrial bromeliads, a group of plants that can make beautiful, even majestic attention-grabbers in your garden while being perfect companions to many drought resistant plants.  Their form, foliage and colors lend themselves very well to be paired with succulents, cacti and other low water plants in the sustainable landscape design. Bromeliads can be attractive specimen in the difficult areas of your garden, such as in hot reflected light or one that … [Read more...]

Is Your Front Yard the Final Frontier? Conquer Your Home Landscape Design with These Distinctive Exotics

Vriesea imperialis in bloom is just breath-taking.

Searching for unique and exceptional plants that could be worthy complements to the striking and curvilinear architecture of a client’s home in Carlsbad, I visited Rancho Soledad Nursery in rural Rancho Santa Fe/CA.  This grower specializes in unusual specimens and is responsible for many exciting plant innovations in the plant world. The plants that I was after would also need to fit other important requirements:  They needed to be non-fussy plants, fitting into a home landscape design, and … [Read more...]

Thank Heaven for Little Trees, for Little Trees Grow Bigger Every Day! The Role of Trees in Landscape Design

Tipuana tipu

Recently, on a hot Sunday afternoon, I noticed a curious thing:  On a comfortable chaise-lounge in the shade of my Tipu tree,  I was reading a good book when I felt drops of water or some other liquid falling on me.  Was it raining? The drops were so tiny that I couldn’t even see them on my skin, but there was no doubt about what I was sensing. Wondering if I was experiencing aphid droplets falling out of the tree canopy, I examined the surrounding furniture on my deck, but there was nothing of … [Read more...]

ART IN THE HOME LANDSCAPE DESIGN – Is It a Case of “You Know It When You See It?“

Lots of grasses, a large boulder and colorful perennials give this scene a naturalistic look.

Realizing that the competition among landscaping companies San Diego is strong, landscape designers vie for the homeowner’s choice with their best photo of their most artful work because to do so is accepted theory practiced and taught by marketing experts. This puts me into a bind of sorts:  What is my best work?  I thought I knew that, but when I show my portfolio to potential clients I get the most divergent comments on my work that make me question this assumption. Take this … [Read more...]

Sustainable Landscape Design – Celebrating California at its Best

Drought resistant plants enhance the bungalow.

Everything about the location of their new home appealed to Ara and Diego:  Conveniently located at a comfortable driving distance to schools, work (both work in medical research at a local university), shopping and cultural events of San Diego, and located in a quiet residential neighborhood, it offered a magnificent view of San Diego Bay, right from their back patio.  It had a good-sized landscape with many fruit trees and room for Diego’s exotics collection; it even had a pool and large play … [Read more...]

Joint venture in La Jolla

Shade sails cool the dining area

How a homeowner with an artist’s love of beautiful details and a receptive landscape designer found synergy and fertile ground in the garden A couple of years after installation, this garden has matured beautifully.  I cherish the artistic collaboration with my clients; it contributes to very personalized and satisfying designs.  In this project the teamwork was particularly fruitful, as Melissa F., entrepreneur, artist and singer/song-writer,  contributed an immense flow of creative ideas … [Read more...]

The joys of winter – preparing for next year’s success and enjoyment of our drought resistant landscape

San Diego Botanic Garden Coral Reef Garden

Reading yet another list of gardening chores for this winter (it does provide our best gardening season), I notice that there are a lot of ‘to do lists’ published online and in gardening magazines about how to prepare for the next year in our gardens.  Feeling slightly guilty about wanting to stay indoors and relax a bit, I wondered ‘Why not write something about the fun stuff that can help us become better gardeners, enlighten and entertain us, without being a chore?’ Celebrate, entertain … [Read more...]

Fall is for gardeners – Now’s the time to put your landscape ideas to work

This garden scene relies mostly on foliage plants rather than colorful bloom.

I imagine that low water landscaping fans here in the south-west share a common tingling sensation in the finger tips these days; the recent harvest moon and the longer nights awakened out plant lust:  Without doubt fall is here, and soon we can work outside again without risking a heatstroke. So what better time to consider our next moves in our low water landscape?  On my list the to- do-chores are conveniently intertwined with the to-buy-list:   Replace the plants that haven’t … [Read more...]