Tag Archives: Landscape Contractor

A Creative Way to Expand An Existing Terrace


I have a client that has a beautiful mid-century modern home with a rather small terrace off the living room. The terrace has as it surface, tiles custom designed by the architect. My clients want to substantially expand the terrace but keep the tiles since they are part of the architect’s design and are in remarkably good condition. However, there is no way that I can match the tiles and the cost of having them replicated is not within their budget.

white-steel-pergola-outdoor-house-terrace-design9As I am both a landscape designer and a contractor, I suggested the way to resolve the aesthetic problem of having multiple floor surfaces is to think of that section of the new terrace as the foyer to what is going to become a substantial outdoor living area. As a foyer serves as a transitional area from the out doors into the home, this new foyer will serve in a comparable manner, but in reverse, from the house to the out of doors.

By building a pergola over the old terrace that compliments the architecture of the house, adding a step around its perimeter and lowering the ground level of the expanded terrace, the result will look as though this new addition was what the architect had always intended.

pavers-grassIn order to tie the rest of the terrace to the original, I will use concrete tinted to pick up a dominant color in the tiles. And to integrate the grass of the yard into this new terrace, plant material will be used to band the poured concrete pavers. The pergola of the foyer will be replicated over the dining area and wherever possible, the finishing details of the terrace will compliment but not try to duplicate the mid-century aesthetic of the house.

I want this new addition to feel fresh and have it’s own identity while respecting the beautifully designed home that it abuts.

As the saying goes, when you’re handed lemons, think lemonade.


Fall Is The Time For Planting California Natives


pumpkin-patch-playing-in-the-dirt-wordpressWhile a large part of this country is now in the process of preparing their gardens for winter and carving pumpkins for Halloween, here in Southern California our mild Mediterranean climate allows us the joy of year-round gardening. With the soil still summer warm and our rainy season just around the corner, from now (mid-October) through January is the ideal time to plant. And from all the landscapes I’m currently designing and building, fall appears to have surpassed spring as my busiest time of year.

California Native Plants

Except for tropicals, subtropicals and summer vegetables, which are best planted in early summer when the soil is warm, everything else is a go. This includes trees, shrubs and ground covers but most of all California native and Mediterranean plants. These species are particularly well suited to our seasonal rhythms. But don’t be concerned if, for the first couple of months, there isn’t much going on above ground, because come spring, the growth of healthy new foliage will demonstrate that during the intervening months, the plant has been busy establishing it’s root system.

I am particularly fond of using California native plants, not only for their diversity of foliage and blooms, but because the majority of them are drought tolerant, which is very important given the state of our water resources. What follows is a listing of California natives (extracted from Wikipedia) that I suggest you consider when laying out or adding to your garden or landscape this fall.

Selected Perennials

Sunny habitats

California Buckwheat
California Buckwheat

Shady habitats


Selected bulbs

California Hyacinth
California Hyacinth

Selected annuals and wildflowers

Selected vines

Dutchman's Pipe
Dutchman’s Pipe

Selected grasses



Selected succulents



See also


Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn


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?


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.


Green Walls & Woollypockets


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


Help Save Water and Save Money


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


March Madness – Fruit Trees Are Where It’s At!


March is the ideal time to plant most fruit trees in Southern California—it’s not to hot—it’s not to cold, it is, as they say, just right! A March planting allows the tree to grow though out the summer and fall.

imagesIf you’re going to plant this month, planting a bare-root tree makes a great deal of sense. It is often less expensive, there is usually a greater selection available and they establish well. However, if you purchase a bare root tree and can’t plant it immediately, it’s best to cover the roots with soil until you can. Here is an excellent video on how to go about planting bare root fruit trees.

If March doesn’t work for you, then I suggested if you plant toward the end of spring, such as late May or June, a potted tree would be the better choice.

Make sure you know how much space each tree will need when it’s fully grown, what’s needed to prepare the soil and how deep to plant the tree. And remember, it’s important to plant in an area where the soil is well drained.

Here is a list of trees that do well in our environment. For more information about growing fruit trees in Southern California please check out eHow.com, Types of Fruit Trees Grown in Southern California, which is the source of this material or simply Google, “fruit trees Southern California”.

lemmonCitrus: Oranges, Limes and Lemons

Citrus fruits include the various types of oranges, tangerines, limes, grapefruits and lemons. According to the University of California’s IPM program, citrus trees do well in areas with warm summers; if they’re planted in a location that’s too cool, “the fruit quality will be poor with little sugar production in the fruit.”

Washington navel, Robertson navel and Valencia oranges—all “peel and eat” fruits—are some of the more popular varieties of orange trees in Southern California, while Eureka and Meyer lemons and Mexican and Bearss limes are very popular

Stone Fruits: Peaches, Plums, Nectarines and Apricots

Like all stone fruits, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots have large stones or pits in the center. The trees drop their leaves in the winter and produce white and pink blossoms during the spring. Stone fruit varieties that require fewer hours in temperatures less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit—such as Babcock peaches, Santa Rosa plums, rose nectarines and goldkist apricots—are best suited to Southern California.

pomegranatePome Fruits: Apples and Pomegranates

The pome fruit family–whose name is “derived from the botanical name of the fruit produced” by its trees, according to researchers at Cornell University–includes apples and pomegranates. Pome fruits are generally found in cooler temperate zones; however, there are certain “low chill” varieties that can grow in warmer climates, such as gala and Beverly Hills apples and ruby red and wonderful pomegranates.


Persimmon trees, of which there are about 200 species, are evergreen and produce two- to three-inch orange or brown fruits that can be seedless. The trees bloom in late fall, and they don’t require many hours in temperatures less than 45 degrees, making them very suitable for Southern California.


Fig trees are easy to cultivate and require warmer temperatures to grow, according to the University of California Backyard Orchard program. Several varieties produce two crops: the “breba,” or first, crop, which “matures in mid-summer,” and the second crop, which “matures in late summer or fall,” according to the program.


My New Blog!!


My first post of my new blog please check out my website here I am super excited about the redesign. I intend this blog to be a place where I share what is going on in my business as well as tips and tools to help you make your garden or landscape beautiful. I have a video page where I will be posting my youtube videos and you can also check them out below on the toolbar across the bottom. Please visit me on facebook and twitter (which you can do by clicking on the names below in the toolbar across the bottom of my blog) as I am entering this social media maze hoping to keep up to date everywhere. Please comment and let me know you were here and your thoughts on my new website and blog and I look forward to walking through the garden with you. Ciao!