Tag Archives: Best Landscape Designer in Los Angeles

Growing Bamboo Is Not For Sissies!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

clump-bambooWhile bamboo may be beautiful–even exotic–in concept, it can be treacherous and very difficult to deal with in execution. To demonstrate my point, I offer this cautionary tale.

I am currently dealing with clients who are in the process of selling their home while having to contend with a next-door neighbor who is badmouthing both them and their property. This has come about because the stand of bamboo on my client’s property has sent runners under their neighbor’s garage. The bamboo runners are forcing their way up through the floor of the garage, breaking up its concrete foundation.

While my client’s are doing their best to resolve the situation, which is one reason I’m involved, it never would have happened had they not planted bamboo.

What is Bamboo?

There are over 100 species of bamboo, which is an evergreen member of the grass family, and it ranges in size from petite miniatures to massive giants that can reach over 30 feet in height. It can be found from the tropics to the tops of mountains and while most bamboos are tropical or subtropical, there are hardy bamboos that can survive temperatures of –10° to –20°F.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Green Thumb vs. Brown Thumb or Seven Ways to Successfully Kill a Plant

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

images-1Why do some folks seem to have nothing but success growing plants (the “green thumb”) and others barely look at a plant and it dies (the “brown thumb”)? I can assure you it has nothing to do with their DNA, and everything to do with their understanding of what makes plants grow. More importantly, if you really want to turn your brown thumb green, you have to be willing to take a little time to learn what the light, soil, water and feeding requirements are for the plant or plants that tickle your fancy.

What To Do To Keep A Plant Healthy

Unless you’re buying a plant for someone else (housewarming, hospital visit, birthday) or are adding a basket of mums to the dining room table for Saturday’s dinner and feel no obligation for its long-term health, I would suggest educating yourself before you buy.  I think it would be fair to say that, “impulse purchases most often lead to death.”

Seven Ways to Successfully Kill a Plant.

For a brief overview on what I feel are the most successfully ways to kill a plant, I offer the following:

  1. imagesOverwatering:  This is, without a doubt, the number one cause of most plant tragedies. Because, strange as it may seem, since plants are usually buried in dirt, most plants’ roots require oxygen in order to survive. If you compulsively water your plants you will successfully kill them by preventing air from circulating and encouraging root rot. Unless you have a moisture meter, and if you do, you probably don’t need to be reading this, I suggest sticking your finger into the soli up to your knuckle to see if it’s dry.  If it is, you probably need to water, if it isn’t, you probably don’t. And don’t “tea-cup” water them. A plant should be watered thoroughly so that water drains from the pot and then allowed to dry out. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t allow the plant to sit in water or this too will lead to death by drowning.
  2. Underwatering: A sure sign that a plant needs watering is if its leaves begin to wilt and it looses its look of vitality. By underwatering you cause it to become stressed, which lowers its natural defenses and allows insects and disease to infest it. While some plants prefer most soil and other like to dry out, most prefer to be kept “evenly moist.” This information should be available on the plant’s label or, if not, make sure and check with the garden center or Google the name of the plant. There are any number of website devoted to plants that can provide all the information you’ll ever need to know.
  3. pest-problems Ignore Intruders: There are all kinds of pests just waiting for you to ignore your plant. Plants should be examined at least once a week for scale and a variety of bugs, particularly when there’s a lot of new growth.  And make sure to look under the leaves where a whole host of creatures like to hang out. If you discover an infestation, there are a number of remedies including insecticidal soaps. If infestation is significant, the only solution may be to dispose of the plant and make sure that none of your other plants, particularly of the same specie, are infected
  4.  It’s Either Too Bright Or Too Dark: If the label says that it’s a shade plant, it probably means it doesn’t like to sit in direct sunlight. And if the plant’s label has the Sun on it, you can rest assured that it needs to be sitting in sunshine the majority of the day. The amount of sun a plant needs may change during the year, but if your sun deck is actually bathed in sun the better part of the day, chances are it would not be the right location for a large fern regardless of the time of the year.
  5.  Soil and PH: If you’re potting or repotting a plant either in the ground or a container, good quality potting soil that is appropriate for the plant is important. For example, if you’re planting succulents or citrus in pots, it’s important to use a cactus mix, so that the soil drains easily and there’s no chance of root rot.  Also, there are a number of plants that prefer acid (pH 4.5 to 5.5) soil. They include ferns, African violets, Azaleas, Begonias, Cyclamens, Dieffenbachia, Gardenias, Hydrangeas, Spruce, Birch Heather, Rhododendrons. Soil additives are available either to mix in with the potting soil or can be added after planting.
  6. Plant Depth Can Mean Plant Death: As mentioned above, a plant’s roots need oxygen. If you place a new plant too deeply in the ground you may kill it by suffocating it. A plant’s root ball should be approximately 10% above the soil level.
  7. To Mulch or Not Too Mulch: A two to three inch layer of mulch, particularly during the dry months, will help retain moisture and retard weed growth. However, too much of a good thing can be deadly and function much like too much water, depriving the roots of the necessary oxygen, with the resulting root rot and death.

Like almost everything in life, knowledge is power. If you want to turn your brown thumb green try doing it one plant at a time. Find a plant you like, do a little research and if what you can provide and what it needs to survive mesh, take it on and make sure that it grows and flourishes. If successful, you have the blueprint for future successes.

How to Repair Bare Patches of Grass in Your Yard

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

bare-patches-grassWith summer coming to a close and kids returning to school, now might be the time to consider dealing with those bare spots of grass in the yard. A yard is an eco-system unto itself and the reason behind the bald patches of grass need to be dealt with before the replanting or re-sodding begins.

What’s Causing the Spots?

There may be a number of causes: lack of water (irrigation is broken or not properly calibrated), rocky or non-draining soil, grubs, dog urine, disease, shade, and compaction. Before you waste time and money you need to figure out what’s causing the problem, deal with it and then proceed.

If your problem is too much traffic, consider rerouting traffic or laying stepping-stones to discourage stepping on the lawn. If shade is the trouble, select a shade-happy variety of lawn seed or sod. If your dog’s urine is the problem, take it for a walk.

Available Alternatives

In addition to planting grass seed there are several alternatives to restoring your lawn:

InstallingSodStep1_300x242.ashx_Sod

If you don’t want to wait for the grass to grow, re-sodding the area is always an option. Home improvement superstores sell sod by the piece and it’s relatively inexpensive. The ground should be properly prepared, fertilized and leveled before cutting the sod to fit the exposed area.

Seed Pads

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time fixing up the lawn, there are some great products that incorporate seeds and a mulch-like covering in one easy application. These products work very well because the shredded paper and pulp that is mixed with the seeds is very effective at keeping the ground moist and the birds at bay. The filling is usually colored blue or green so you can easily see if you have the entire area covered.

Soil Preparation

The health of your lawn and new plantings depend upon the soil in which it is planted.

  • Dig up and remove the grass in the problem area. Remove the top layer of remaining turf and soil
  • Turn over the soil using a spade shovel (has a rounded or pointed end). Be sure to go down  4″ in depth. This breaks up soil compaction making it easier for your new seedling’s roots to grow deeper with more ease. Remove any stones, roots or other plant materials that may hinder the growth of your new grass as you work.
  • Amend the soil by placing compost or a commercial bagged product from your garden center into your loosened topsoil. This can greatly improve the growing conditions for your lawn’s roots. The darker the color of the soil more organic material and nutrients there are in it. Work the organic material into the soil using the spade and or garden rake.
  • Level the surface by using your garden rake to level and create a smooth surface. The soil surface should be the same level as the surrounding soil (or slightly higher to allow for settling). If you are using sod, the soil should be 1″ lower to allow for the depth of the sod’s soil and roots. Take care the surface is even with no low or high spots. This will create a lumpy end result and depressions can collect water, which may lead to disease.

Spread the Seed

Pick a quality grass seed that matches both the type of grass currently growing in your lawn and the requirements of the area it is to grow in.

With the soil prepared, lightly sprinkle the grass seed over the exposed area. Be sure to spread it at the rate as described on the seed packaging. Rake a thin layer of soil over the seeds. Apply a starter fertilizer to assist with jumpstarting the seed growth and ensuring strong roots.

Apply Mulch Covering

Cover the seeded area with a protective layer of mulch. Typical materials include straw, peat moss, or other commercially available products made of recycled newspaper, which conserve moisture and contain starter fertilizer. The covering used is not as important as what it does: conserve moisture, increase turf density and minimize weed seeds from finding your freshly prepared fertile soil.

Keep Soil Moist Until Seeds Sprout

Lightly water the seeds every day, multiple times a day if it is warm, sunny or windy. Keep them moist until you see the seeds germinate and begin to root into the soil, then reduce the frequency of watering. Allow your grass to grow and fill in before you mow. Mowing it too early or too short can damage the grass and possibly uproot it.

Grass Alternatives

Grass consumes an extraordinary amount of water and there are so many alternatives to its use that I suggest, before you spend time and money trying to maintain a perfect lawn, you consider replacing your lawn or a considerable portion of it with drought-tollerent, sustainable native plants and succulents. I’ve written a number of blogs on this subject including my last post, Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn. Help save water and save money by re-thinking how your garden grows.

Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Malibu_11An important article appeared in the New York Times this past Sunday, August 11, 2013, by Ian Lovett, entitled  Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn. As detailed  in the article and quoted in this blog, it examines a very serious concern––lack of water––and how the Southwest and California and Los Angeles, in particular, are dealing with it.

This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, aspects of which I’ve written about on a number of occasions, which you’re more than welcome to check out:

Help Save Water & Save Money

Are You And Your Garden Stressed Out

Five Water-Conserving Tips For Summer Gardening

Water, Water Everywhere … So Where Did It Go?

Southern California’s Most Pressing Problem

A Drought-Resistant Lawn … Is It Possible?

residential-sustainable-1

In the article, it was noted that since 2009, when the Los Angeles’ rebate program began, the city has paid $1.4 million to homeowners willing to rip out their front lawns, and more than one million square feet of grass has been removed and replanted with succulents and drought-tollerant native California plants. New city parks provide only token patches of grass, surrounded by native plants, and the park outside City Hall, which was once a field of grass, has been transformed into a garden of succulents.

The first five months of this year were the driest on record in California, with reservoirs in the state at 20 percent below normal levels. The lawn rebate program here will save approximately 47 million gallons of water each year, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. So concerned about this issue, Los Angeles, last month, raised its rebate from $2 a square foot of grass removed to $2.50. Long Beach now offers $3 a square foot.

“The era of the lawn in the West is over,” said Paul Robbins, the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin. “The water limits are insurmountable.”

City officials across the region have hailed turf removal as vital, given the chronic water shortages.

Las Vegas Made It Work

Las VegasLas Vegas presents a model of how quickly the landscape can change when a city moves aggressively. In 2003, after a drought wiped out the city’s water resources, the Las Vegas Valley Water District offered what officials believe was the first turf removal rebate program in the country.

Since then, the water district has paid out nearly $200 million to remove 165.6 million square feet of grass from residences and businesses.

In the winter, watering is allowed only one day a week. Homeowners who take advantage of the city’s rebate must sign a deed restriction stating that even if the property were to be sold, grass could not be reinstalled unless the new owner paid back the rebate, with interest.

The city’s investment has paid off. In the last decade, 9.2 billion gallons of water have been saved through turf removal, and water use in Southern Nevada has been cut by a third, even as the population has continued to grow.

“The landscape in Southern Nevada has changed dramatically,” said Patricia Mulroy, the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District. “If you had driven through a single-family development in the 1990s, it would have had grass all the way around. Today, you find desert landscaping. You see very little grass.”

Save Water & Save Money

If you would like to examine the possibility of re-landscaping your home with succulents and drought-tollerant native species, and save water and money, give us a call––we are specialists in creating beautiful, sustainable landscapes.

Weingart Center Garden & Worldscape

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

See what happens in three years!

Weingart-6In May of 2010 I began designing and building the Weingart Center Garden. The Garden is adjacent to the Weingart Center, in the heart of the skid-row section of downtown Los Angeles. I wrote about this experience in one of my first newsletters entitled, “A Little Bit of Country on Skid Row.” That newsletter detailed my experiences and it has become the basis for an article I wrote for an up-coming issue of Worldscape.

Worldscape is a Chinese publication, in both English and Chinese, that focuses on global landscape design. The editors requested an article describing one of my projects and I thought the design and construction of the Center’s garden was ideal. It demonstrates how a public/private partnership (the Weingart Center, AmeriCorps and me) can make a major contribution to one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

The article is to appear in Worldscape’s September publication – I’ll update you when it comes out. In the meantime, these photographs were shot for the publication and show how the Garden has grown in three years. If you want to see what it looked like in 2010, here is a link to a video showing the Garden’s construction:  Video.

I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to tell the Weingart Garden’s story. I hope it inspires other public/private partnerships and will help introduce “a little bit of country” to desolate pieces of property all around the world.Weingart-4 Weingart-8 Weingart-3 Weingart-2 Weingart-1

Green Walls & Woollypockets

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Garden-of-Eva-1I recently completed creating a green wall in downtown Los Angeles for the building that houses the Department of Homeland Security.  No, I didn’t have to be frisked or the plants patted down, but the piece to your right did stir up some interest.

Green walls are definitely stirring up interest and they’re popping up all over the place since all you need is a wall, some sun and a little water, particularly if you’re creating a wall out of succulents, which is what the wall I created consisted of.

What holds all these plants in place is a living wall planter made by the company, Woollypocket. They specialize in providing vertical gardening systems that can be used anywhere and you would be amazed at the range of products that can hang on a wall.

So if you’re interested in hanging plants on a wall that will grow and thrive, check them out, www.woollypocket.com. If you go to their Professionals & Case Studies, you’ll see their products in situ and learn what was involved in their creation including Overview, Pockets, Plants and Irrigation.

Go Green!

Garden of Eva-2img_3933_1 wgw-splendid-store-suthi-picotte-hires1_1 Green Wall

Enjoying Nature – An Outdoor Shower

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

tropical-patioWith summer upon us and families hitting the beaches, barbequing and hanging out by the pool, spending hours trimming the hedges, pruning the roses or digging in the garden, you don’t have to live on a beach to appreciate an open-air shower. The out of doors is a great place to be and a great place to shower: lathering up in the cool morning air, stripping down after a couple of sweaty hours playing tennis or feeling the refreshing cascade of water running over your body following an early morning tee off and 18 holes.

Regardless of your motivation, there is an outdoor shower that will meet your needs and your pocket book.  From a foot sprayer connected to a hose and a cold-water spigot to an architecturally designed changing room with a multi-head shower and hot and cold running water, the choices are virtually unlimited.

Site Selection

Exotic-wooden-round-outdoor-shower-enclosure-galleryLocation, location, location, as they say, is paramount in purchasing a property and equally true in determining the best location for an outdoor shower.  Here are a few things to consider in selecting a site:

  • your budget,
  • the location of the plumbing lines,
  • who will be using it after what activity, and
  • does it take advantage of the beauty of it’s surrounding?

Privacy

resthard_outdoor_showerWhile you might like to commune with nature while you shower in the “all together,” this might not be true for your daughter or your mother when she comes to visit. So, I would suggest designing your shower for the most modest among you. There are an infinite number of ways to maintain privacy while still enjoying the glories of nature. Here are just a few thoughts: shower curtains, folding screens, painted shutters, old doors, bamboo roll-ups, potted plants, privet hedges and, of course, a whole range of custom designed enclosures constructed out of almost anything that will withstand water over a prolonged period of time.

Plumbing

rice-outdoor-shower-lWhere the water comes from and where it goes is something I believe is best left to a professional unless this a temporary, “let’s try this out to see if anyone uses it.” If this is the case, then you’re on your own.

These photographs will give you some idea of the range of outdoor showers.  They come in all sizes and descriptions: home made, pre made and custom made. And, of course, I would be happy to help you make an informed decision if you’re looking to commune with nature and want the advice and assistance of a professional.

 

Exterior stone shower cubical real home L etc 03/2008 not used
Outdoor-Shower-Design-3
Mashatu-Tented-Camp-Outdoor-Shower
contemporary-bathroom
outdoor-shower-tradewinds-cascasde-2
RMS_pnorviel-deck-outdoor-shower_s3x4_lg copy

Help Save Water and Save Money

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

While I have written about the importance of saving water, “Southern California’s Most Pressing Problem”“Water – Water – Everywhere … So Where Did It Go?”, the reality is that this very serious problem threatens Southern California’s very existence and it isn’t going away! In fact, it’s getting worse. And as we are already in “fire season” (“Firewise Your Landscape“) I thought I would bring to your attention some of the money and water-saving programs and approaches currently available.

Water Conservation in Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles recently implemented Phase II of its Water Conservation Ordnance, which requires the following:

Summer Fun

  • Outdoor watering with sprinklers is restricted to three days a week with different watering days assigned to odd-numbered and even-numbered street addresses.
  • Customers with odd-numbered street addresses – ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Customers with even-numbered street addresses – ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
  • Watering with sprinklers is limited to one eight-minute cycle per watering day for non-conserving nozzle sprinkler systems (typical residential system), or two 15-minute cycles per watering day for conserving nozzle sprinkler systems.
  • All outdoor watering is restricted to hours before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., regardless of the watering day.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Dwell on Design – LA Convention Center – Saturday (6-22) 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

8B6EB5BCFB0B77072AEDC6CE2AAD060F_9124973This Saturday, I’ll be at the LA Convention Center offering free consultations on Landscape Design from 1:00- 3:00 p.m. This gathering is sponsored by APLD’s Focus on Design and the magazine Dwell.

So come on down and introduce yourself and learn how you can improve you landscape, garden and home from advice given by one of the five Best Landscape Designers in Los Angeles.

Best Landscape Designers in Los Angeles

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

I was both stunned and thrilled when I was notified that CBS Los Angeles, as part of their Latest Best of LA series, had chosen me and my company as one of five Best Landscape Designers in LA.

It may not be an Emmy or an Oscar but it is nice to be recognized for what you love to do! So, if you’ll allow me this moment in the sun—because that’s it … that’s all you get—I’ll be back down in the dirt tomorrow.

The following is part of the article, if you’d like to read it in its entirety, click here.

Best Landscape Designers in LA – June 15, 2013

A recent survey sponsored by a national landscaping trade association known as PLANET revealed a rising trend among consumers increasing their investments on outdoor living spaces, including patios, decks, walkways and other specialized services such as lighting and irrigation systems

Surprisingly, it’s mostly digitally-connected homeworkers under the age of 35 who are placing priority on outdoor entertainment areas. Most Los Angeles homeowners hire a professional landscaper because they either don’t have proper landscaping equipment or because they simply lack the know-how to do their own landscaping. Luckily, some of the best landscapers are based in Los Angeles.

Garden of Eva Landscape Design Group

Garden of Eva Landscape Design

Described as the Julia Child of Los Angeles landscape design, Eva Knoppel and the Garden of Eva Landscape Design Group comes highly recommended for her experience, integrity and Eco-friendly, low-maintenance gardens.

This full-service landscaping design and maintenance company has built more than 100 gardens in both commercial and residential areas. Knoppel is most known for her work creating a “garden in the sky” at LA’s Perch rooftop bar and lounge.

Related: Building A Garden In The Sky.