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Sunset’s Lose the Lawn provides inspiration

Want to get rid of your lawn but not sure what other options there are? Sunset magazine’s article ‘Lose the Lawn’ provides some great inspiration. Here are a few images from the article of lawnless gardens that I loved. I especially like their emphasis on curb appeal and outdoor living.

Interested in a waterwise garden of your own? We’d love to help! Please go to www.sageoutdoordesigns.com and fill in the contact us form.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at www.sageoutdoordesigns.com

May Greys

In San Diego, in the early summer we often have a marine layer of clouds over most of the coastal areas. We call it May Grey and June Gloom. Maybe it is the weather that has me into plants with grey foliage right now.

Grey foliage works as an elegant addition to drought tolerant gardens, making the foliage of the other plants appear more green by contrast. Try them in mass plantings or as single specimens.

Here are a few of my favorites. These are all reliable growers in San Diego county. The blue flowered variety to the left is Teucrium fruticans ‘Azuruem’ by Monrovia nursery. It is a compact shrub to 3′ high, ideal for a low hedge or mass planting. For contrast, try planting it with a mass of Rosemarinus ‘Tuscan Blue’.

The clouds of lavender purple flowers is Leucophyllum frutescens, sometimes called Tezas Ranger or Texas Silverleaf.

The groundcover is one of my favorites: Dymondia margaretae. It forms a very dense matt tight to the ground and takes a fair amount of foot traffic and even occasional car traffic.

The brilliant white flowers belong to Convovulus cneorum. It has brilliant silver foliage and a low round growth habit. Below is Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’ with its soft fluttery silver-blue foliage. Let it drape over a low wall.

Olea ‘Little Ollie’ is a shrub form of an oliver ideal for low hedges. It is very drought and heat tolerant. Lavenders, like this Lavandula ‘Hidcote Blue’ offer a wonderful variety of grey foliage.

Interested in a waterwise garden of your own? We’d love to help! Please go to www.sageoutdoordesigns.com and fill in the contact us form.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at www.sageoutdoordesigns.com

Home highlight: ornamental grasses

As part two in our Home Highlight series, I would like to show off this beautifully done water wise garden in Northpark, San Diego. There is so much that is well done here that it is tough to focus down to a single issue. The use of color is fantastic, but since we have already looked at that in a previous listing, I’d like to focus on the integration of ornamental grasses. Many are drought resistant, and they can add a lot of color and movement to a garden.

This garden uses two of my favorites: Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) and Pennisetum setaceum rubrum (Purple Fountain Grass). Here is a closeup of the grasses:

Stipa tenuissima is one of the lightest grasses, so you will see a lot of movement in even a gentle breeze. It works best in mass plantings.

Grasses integrate very well with other drought tolerant plants. Consider cacti and succulents, such as the Agave shown here, or flowering plants like the Kangaroo Paw (I think it is Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger’) and Gazania in this garden.

Before we leave this garden, I do have to mention that it also coordinates wonderfully with the house. Notice how the colors (olive green, gold, and burgundy) in the house paint are mirrored in the garden. The effect is very cohesive.

Interested in a waterwise garden of your own? We’d love to help! Please go to www.sageoutdoordesigns.com and fill in the contact us form.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at www.sageoutdoordesigns.com

Feature: Casablanca in Kensington

We are very proud of our latest feature article in San Diego Home and Garden Lifestyles magazine’s July issue entitled Casablanca in Kensington. It highlights the garden of Tom and Karen Capp, co-owners of the online fine art dealers Studio Avo and Oopsy Daisy. This Moroccan style oudoor living spaces uses rich color, beautifully patterned tile, and rustic materials to create a warm and inviting space for entertaining. You can see more photos of the project on the Sage Outdoor Designs website.

Interested in a waterwise garden of your own? We’d love to help! Please go to www.sageoutdoordesigns.com and fill in the contact us form.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at www.sageoutdoordesigns.com

Reduce water without compromising style


Xeriscaping has the reputation of being wild looking, but a few classic types of landscape designs have always been drought tolerant. If these styles work with the architecture of your home, they could be the key to reducing your water bills without having to compromise on style.

– Spanish Colonial: this classic style originated in Spain but has been a historic style throughout all of California’s history. It has clean lines and a lot of geometry. A few great xeriscape plants for this look include Bougainvillea, Kniphofia, and Rock Roses.

– Moorish: this style was born in the Middle East but can be seen throughout Spain and North Africa. Gardens in this style feel like exotic oases. Pattern is used frequently, particularly in beautiful mosaic tile work. A few waterwise plants for this style: Kangaroo Paw, Germander, succulents, Aloe, and Grevillea.

– French: this style saw its peak with the design of the palace at Versailles. It is a very regimented style that appeals to people who want order in the garden. The most common element is known as a parterre, a pattern created with carefully clipped short hedges that is typically viewed from above. The parterres are typically made from Boxwood hedges with a contrasting interior planting with either grey foliage, such as Licorice Plant, or colored flowers.

– Montecito: the Estates in Montecito are dotted with stately California Live Oaks, a tree species so drought tolerant that they are most frequently killed by overwatering. The Montecito style is a blend of classic geometry and a more natural integration with the California chaparral. Consider classic forms close to the house and a more wilderness aesthetic at the edges of the garden. Ornamanetal grasses are a wonderful accent in this style of garden.

Since many Estate Gardens in California existed long before irrigation on the scale we practice today was feasible, returning to a classic look can cut your water bills without cutting your curb appeal.

(Image) Alhambra-style garden at L’Ecurie, Hunting Valley, Ohio, the home of Iris W and Thomas V H Vail Sr, publisher of “The Plain Dealer”; designed in 1978.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at www.sageoutdoordesigns.com