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Glass tile

One of the current trends in swimming pool design is the use of glass tile. The industry has burgeoned over the last few years, giving us a huge selection of glass tile options. A few have become standard in swimming pool design, so of course my instinct is to stay away from those looks. I strongly believe that anything overused by an industry is bound to become quickly dated. Instead, I recommend looking for more unique glass tile that suits the design style of your whole landscape.

Here are a few of my favorites and the design styles I would pair them with:

This is by Lunada Bay Tile in their Hitari Etched Glass line. These are 4″x4″ glass tiles with an etched pattern and you get to select the color and pattern from a wide range of choices. I love the terra cotta brown for a Moroccan or Spanish Colonial look.

This is the same line of tile with the color and pattern changed. By using a midori green glass with an asian wind pattern, you get a tile that would be perfect for a zen inspired garden.

This is a glass tile mosaic by Sicis out of Italy. Their stunning “Flower Power” series of mosaics would be amazing with a showy tropical style swimming pool. The glass tiles used have a lot of irridesence to them so they are really a show stopper. Their complimentary tile lines, like the Glimmer Line shown below, would be wonderful for a more subtle look that still has a lot of shine and depth.

Ann Sacks has some incredible glass tile options. I love the penny rounds in their crystal glass collection for a mid-century modern pool.

The Erin Adams Facet line has some gorgeous mosaic patterns. The small birds and vine pattern would be great for a cottage style look with an artistic flair. And I love the peacock pattern for a Moroccan design.


For a sleek modern design, I think the tendency is to use sleek glass tiles without a lot of character or definition, a choice that tends to fall flat. Instead, I like the cool modern colors of Malaga Cove’s burleywood. Another nice option is Walker Zanger’s Tiffany Glass line. Both have a lot of definition and work well with concrete.

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

Sage Sages

At the moment, I am in love with Salvias. They are drought tolerant and come in all sorts of wonderful colors (and sizes) so there is almost certainly a perfect salvia for your garden. Here are a few I love. In order from left to right they are S. Dark Dancer, S. chiapensis, S. Navajo Dark Purple, S. spathacea, and S. freisland.

Celestial blue sage from Las Pilitas


A few of our local nurseries have great salvia selections. My favorite is Buena Creek Gardens.

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

March garden design tips

Next month is the Coronado Flower show. For weeks, homeowners in Coronado have been sprucing up their front yards with the hopes of getting a blue ribbon. Many homeowners turn to short tern flower color, annuals mostly, to spruce up their gardens in the spring.

As a working professional without a lot of time in my garden, I always prefer to stay away from short term plantings. Instead, I like finding easy to grow plants that have a lot of bold flower color. Less work, and more payoff!

These are a few of my favorites:

Lavatera: These are so easy to grow! They are very drought tolerant and take full sun. They bloom profusely from March into the summer. Lavatera bicolor is a great choice, and so is L. maritima and L. ‘Red Rum’. These are available locally in San Diego through most nurseries including Walter Anderson, Village nursery, Miramar Wholesale, and Briggs Tree Nursery.

I have fallen back in love with Lantana recently. I used to think this plant was dated, but I think it is back and better than ever. Check out thenew dwarf varieties like Lantana ‘Teenie Geenie’ that grow to less than two feet tall. These are very heat and drought tolerant. They also put up with bad soil. Mine are a little sensitive to fungus, so keep an eye out for discoloration on the leaves.

Rockroses are another easy to grow and drought tolerant variety that can give a lot of color. This one, Cistus landiferus, is one of my favorites. C. purpurea, with it’s large magenta blossoms is very popular. The less known C. skanbergii has delicate pink flowers almost like a single rose.

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