Posts Tagged native plants

Consider Going Native

Southern California native plants are gorgeous, and – once established – they can cut down on the water bill.  Not only can adding natives to your landscape help keep your yard green with less water, they also attract native animals like birds, butterflies and more.

Here are some great natives to consider planting:

Full Sun/Flowers or Flowering ShrubberyCalifornia Golden Poppy

Hollyhock, California Poppy, Fried Egg Flower, Godetia, Pineleaf Penstemon, Broadleaf Sedum, Eaton’s Penstemon, Calliopsis, Hummingbird Trumpet, Black-Eyed Susan, Sea Pink, Desert Evening Primrose, California Buckwheat, Bigleaf Lupine

Partial or Full Shade/Flowers or Flowering Shrubbery

Baby Blue Eyes, Ribes Currants, Mock Orange, Snowberry, Meadow Rue, Coral Bells, Coastal Sage Scrub, California Lilac, Bush Sunflower, Chaparral


Fir (red/white), Big-Leaf Maple, Desert Ash, Californa Black Walnut, Sugar Pine, Honey Mesquite, Velvet Mesquite, Douglas Fir, California Oak, Blue Oak, Engelmann Oak, Mountain Hemlock

These and many other plants make a great addition to any yard.  When landscaping, give some thought to native plants.  They can help you save on your water bill, are less of an effort to care for, and attract wonderful animals.



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Pretty Pathways

We all want the chance to walk through our yard without trampling the lawn or our pretty flowers.  Additionally, at night, it’s important to have a chance to walk through your yard without tripping over a sprinkler or stepping into a whole.  However, pathway designs can be really boring, and if you look at the standard ones, they might even be a bit of an eye sore when it comes to your, unique space.

Here are some fun ideas for pathway designs that may compliment your landscape better than just straight pavement:

Install flagstones with grass or crawling thyme filling the section that would usually be filled by mortar:Natural Pathway

Instead of using standard mortar in a pathway, you can utilize low grasses or crawling thyme to fill the area between each stone with greenery.  Another idea, if you don’t want anything live between your stones, is to install gravel or other small stones between each flagstone.  This can give the path a more exciting look than just plain mortar.

– Create rugged pathways.

A pathway made of gravel and bare earth, bordered by raised planters or desert plants can add character to a yard full of natives.

– Set your stone path below the grass line.

Stone pathways which are set slightly below where you would mow are easy to care for and don’t catch the eye too much.   This is one way you can have a nice, unobtrusive pathway through your lawn.

– Think sand.

Inset stone pathway

A beachy path made of about 6 inches of sand is a great way to accent beach grasses or a property near the beach.

– Walk on the grass.

If your yard is mainly plants, hardscaping, or water features, a cool pathway made of grass may give it a refreshing look and feel.  Another version of this are “stones” of grass with gravel or shale infilling the areas between the grass steps.

– Brighten your yard with colored stones.

Instead of plain flagstones or stamped concrete, explore different types and textures of stones or other masonry.

– Walk on a wooded path.

Installing planks of wood as a path can be a fun way to give a stable walking surface to a hillside home or other unique yard space.

– Add a boarder.Garden with stone landscaping

A quick fix for any pathway is to install a unique boarder.  This could mean planting fragrant plants or installing a few benches on the side or an art installation.  A boarder can make a pathway much more interesting and feel like a new installation.  Additionally, you can add perspective to existing pathways by installing something bright and colorful at the far end of the pathway.

Here’s to a yard that is easy to walk through and enjoy!

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Wintertime Dreamin

It’s that time of year again.  Hopefully any lawn decorations and string lighting is set up, your yard is put to bed, and any lawn furniture is put away.  It’s time for us to look at our yards and plan for next year.

When it comes to home improvement, plans are generally modified by budget and available space.  So, what projects do you want to accomplish next year?  Here are some ideas:

– Go native.  It’s always good to add native plants to your yard – or to even take the plunge and plant only natives.  This will likely cut down your water bills and gardening costs – as Southern California natives like poppies, sage, Meeting Placedeer grass, California lilac, Coast Live Oak, Western Sycamore, etc are literally made for your soil.  These types of plants are great for hot, dry SoCal cities like Agoura Hills, La Canada, and Silverlake.  While you will need to keep them well watered to allow their roots to establish, over time they will help cut down that water bill.  Additionally, natives usually attract native birds and insects throughout the year, so your yard may become filled with butterflies, bumblebees and birds.

– Get sprinklers or a drip system installed.  As you well know, Southern California is hot and dry.  To keep up any kind of lawn or plants, you need some source of water.  Take a look at your space and decide if it would be better to go with a sprinkler system, or a drip system.  Drip systems get the water straight to the plant roots, which usually makes them more cost-effective.

Install hardscaping.  Are you sick of dealing with plants and sprinklers and so on?  Or maybe you want a place where your family and friends can gather outdoors and have a barbecue or a picnic.  These circumstances speak to getting hardscaping installed.  There are many different options for hardscaping – stone, concrete, brick, etc.  And your hardscaping ideas aren’t limited to a back patio or island.  Take a look at your entry way, your front walk, and your driveway.  These are all areas which can be improved with something as small as cleaning and sealing the concrete, stone or brick they are made of – or as in-depth and replacing the existing look with something completely different.

Make little changes.  It’s those details that make all the difference, from installing a fountain or lamp post in the back, to putting up a hammock for summertime or sprucing up your lawn furniture  you can make a big difference in your yard.

– Install a space for family gatherings.  Again, this can be as small as setting up a picnic table with benches – or as big as getting a firepit with surrounding seats installed.

– Get a nice screen to make your backyard your own little world.  Bamboo, tall bushes, and other plants can be installed to keep your backyard private and muffle outside sounds.  Take a look at what separates you from your neighbors and see if it can’t be improved.  If it’s a chain-link fence, perhaps you can discuss improvements with your neighbors and get a block wall or a wooden fence installed.  If you know your neighbor’s like the look of what separates your property lines, perhaps you can find plants you like to conceal it, or you can decorate it with a fountain or sculpture.

– Install any lighting.  This is actually something you should do over the winter, as this is the time of year when there is more darkness, and additional lighting would be welcome.

Here’s to a holiday season full of dreams fulfilled.

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Making a Statement with Your Lot

Southern California is filled with oddly sized lots.  You can find them out by Redondo Beach, in Agoura Hills, in Sunland, and all over LA.  The key to managing your odd lot is making a statement with it.  This goes for any kind of lot, any shape size or situation.

Here is what to consider when solving the landscaping for your different-sized lot:

– What is the total lot square footage (without your house)?  This is important to consider when you are considering any usable lot space.

– What portion of your lot is usable?  You should consider literally any portion of your lot which is not to steep to utilize in one way or another.

– What do you want to use the lot for? This will give you an understanding of how to best utilize that weird strip of grass on the side of your house.  It could be a vegetable garden, a dog run, a picnic area, a play spot for the kids, your native plant section, etc.

– How much energy do you want to spend on your yard?  This includes both time and money.  If you want to spend very little energy, your best idea is to either go native, or get a hardscape placed in there.  If you like gardening or want to employ a gardener to help keep your yard a paradise of flowers, trees, etc – you will clearly want a more complicated set up.

– Consult with a landscaper on the best way to utilize the entire space.  It’s unacceptable in my mind to let any part of a lot go to seed, or become a dumping ground for unused items.  Every part of your lot should have a purpose.

Here’s to those glorious lots of SoCal – no matter the size!

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Greening up your garden

Here are some ideas on making your yard even more environmentally friendly:

– Adding a rain barrel.  Now is a great time to add a rain barrel to your home, since it might actually rain this time of year.  Rain barrels can help keep your watering costs down.

Planting fruit trees, and planting veggies.  What can be more locally grown than something grown at home?

– Add a timer to your sprinkler system.  This can help ensure your plants get watered in the most cost-effective manner.

Attract birds. If you attract birds to your yard, not only will they eat up bad insects, they will help fertilize your yard.

Set up a compost heap. Adding your yard waste up into an official area of your yard give you free compost later on in the year. Just make sure to keep it wet and to turn it!

– Think about adding native plants to your landscaping.  Local and native plants need less attention and water, and are a safe haven for local beneficial insects and birds.

It’s a great time of year to do all of the above.  So here’s to a happy, and green, holiday season!

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