Tag Archives: Los Angeles Landscape Contractor

HGTV Blog – Design Happens

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HGTV - Design Happens
HGTV – Design Happens

I am delighted to report that HGTV selected a project I did several years ago to feature on their blog, Design Happens. It’s  title, with an attached link, is  An Outdoor Living and Entertainment Oasis.  It describes the landscape I designed and built for the international film producer, Deepak Nayar and  his wife Mary.

What a wonderful experience it was working with a man who had worked with directors like David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Paul Schrader and Gurinder Chadha, earned Golden Globe, Bafta and Oscar nominations and been involved as a producer for such films as  Slumdog Millionaire, Bend it Like Beckham and Buena Vista Social Club.

When I asked them what they were looking to accomplish, he and Mary told me they wanted an indoor-outdoor expansion of their Sunset Plaza home in the Hollywood Hills that would be conducive to their family (two children and two dogs), and also a comfortable environment for entertaining frequent guests. Deepak suggested that I think of their house as a movie set with focal points when people first walk in and I did just that!

If you would like to see the evolution of the project from start to finish, please check out my three newsletters:  A Sunset Plaza Makeover,  Building A Wall Of Water and Sunset Garden Makeover Completed.

No-Mow Grass – A Lawn Saver

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no-mow-residential-1With California facing the worst drought in its history is it possible for a responsible home owner or property manager to turn a water-consuming landscape into a drought tolerant one and still include grass as part of it’s design?

The answer is …YES!

No-Mow Grass (a collection of fineleaf fescue “grass” species that have been developed over the last 40+ years) is the answer for low-maintenance, low-input, environmentally friendly grassy ground covers. No-Mow is ideal for home, commercial and industrial landscapes that include slopes, median strips, golf course roughs, cemeteries and untrafficked areas of parks.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Featured in Small-Space Gardening Magazine

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Small-Space-Garden-Half-Cover

March, 2015

The Photo Editor of Small-Space Gardening contacted me about a picture she found on on my website of a garden I’d designed. She loved it and asked  to use it in their Spring edition. I, of course, was thrilled that they liked it and wanted to publish it, so, of course, I said yes!

And here it is! I am so pleased that it’s in such a wonderful publication — currently available on newsstands. It’s filled with fabulous pictures and great ideas for container gardens, small vegetable gardens, small backyards, color palates, plant selection and a great deal more.

Here is the photograph from the magazine, which they titled “European Charmer.”

Small-Space-Garden-72ppi

If you’d like to read or download the article, click Small Space Gardening 2015!”

University of California – Helpful Gardening Information

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vegetableDo you want to know: What to plant? Where to plant it? How to plant it? How deep to plant it? How much to water it? What to feed it? How much sun it needs? and What critters will like to eat it? Then, The University of California Cooperative Extension for Los Angeles County is a wonderful resource for  almost anything having to do with gardening.

What follows is a wealth of information that flows from the UC system, including listings of their websites, divisions, publications, research papers etc. So, you might want to bookmark this for future reference. Take a look, try out the links and see how much valuable gardening information is available right here at your fingertips.

And if I can be of any assistance in answering your gardening or landscaping questions, please email me at eknoppel@garden-of-eva.com.

Happy Hunting!

Asian Citrus Psyllid – http://ucanr.edu/sites/acp/

Avocado Information – http://www.ucavo.ucr.edu/

Backyard Orchard – http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/

Beneficial Insects Poster – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/FAQ/natural-enemies-poster.pdf

Berries – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Berries/

California Agriculture – http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.org/

California Center for Urban Horticulture – http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/

California Garden Web – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems – http://casfs.ucsc.edu/

Center for Invasive Species Research – http://cisr.ucr.edu/

Citrus Variety Collection – http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/

Community Gardens (UC ANR Publication) – http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8499.pdf

Exotic and Invasive Pests – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/EXOTIC/index.html

Fire-Safe Landscaping – http://ucanr.edu/sites/SAFELandscapes/

Flowers – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Flowers/

Free Publications – http://ucanr.edu/freepubs/index.cfm

Fruits and Nuts Center – http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/

Gardening  Basics – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/General/

Glossary of Gardening Terms, A-M – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Glossary/

Glossary of Gardening Terms, N-Z – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Glossary/Glossary__N-Z/

Grapes – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Growing_Grapes_in_the_California_Garden/

Healthy Lawns – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/

Honeybee Research and Information – http://bees.ucr.edu/

Indoor Plants – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Houseplants/

Integrated Pest Management Program – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/

Landscape Trees, Shrubs, Vines – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Landscape_Trees/

Lawns – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Lawns/

Natural Enemies – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/index.html

Natural Environment Pests – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/NATURAL/index.html

Pest Notes – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/index.html

Pesticide and Toxicology Network – http://extoxnet.orst.edu/

Plant Native – http://www.plantnative.org/

Postharvest  Technology – http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/

Safe and Poisonous Plants – http://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/

Small Farm Program – http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu/

Soil Solarization for Gardens and Landscapes –http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program – http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/

Sustainable Landscaping in California: How to Conserve Resources and Beautify Your Home Landscape – http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8504.pdf

Vegetable Research and Information Center – http://vric.ucdavis.edu/

Vegetables – http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Vegetables/

Weed Photo Gallery – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_intro.html

Weed Research and Information Center – http://wric.ucdavis.edu/

Publications Catalog – http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/InOrder/Shop/Shop.asp

UCTV – Gardening and Agriculture – http://www.uctv.tv/gardening/

UC Riverside Botanic Garden – http://gardens.ucr.edu/

 

A Landscape To Grow With

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Firepit-Kitchen-Pizza-OvenAs you can see from the “Before” picture below, the landscaping of this home’s back yard was, except for the pool, water feature and deck, non-existent!

Before

before

A blank slate is actually better for me as the designer because I don’t have to deal with a lot of existing and unwanted hardscape and/or plant material. With the removal of the palm trees and few other plants, we were ready to proceed with creating what my clients’ desired.

And what they had requested was an environment that was suitable for a great deal of entertaining as well as a place for them, their dog and their anticipated family to grow up in and enjoy. It also needed to be easy to maintain and be as drought-tolerant as possible.

The Kitchen

kitchen

There were two elements that were essential for the design. The first was an outdoor kitchen with a lot of counter space, a barbecue and stove, a pizza oven, a sink with running water, a counter to sit at and a roof that cantilevered out over the seating area, which was to match the existing, but refinished, wooden deck.

The second required ingredient was a fire pit surrounded by a large seating area.

The Fire Pit

fire-pit-2

Between the fire pit and the kitchen lay the existing deck. I used it as the axis of these two elements with the pool creating the third aspect of a triangle that visually tied all three elements together.

The Pool and The Deck

deck-pool

By creating a clearly defined entertainment area, it left the remaining yard to be landscaped as a separate entity.

The Landscape

landscape

Keeping in mind the desire to create a drought-tolerant landscape, the remaining yard was divided into a small area of grass (for the dog and the children-to-be) with the remaining property covered with pea gravel.

To help define the area, serve as backdrop for the entertainment area and provide a view from inside the house, three full-grown olive trees were craned in and planted.

Illumination and Irrigation

landscape-lights

Additional seating was provided at various spots along the graveled area and the trees and property were illuminated with low voltage lamps and spot lights. A drip irrigation system was installed through out.

The Pizza Oven

pizza-oven

While the re-designed landscape has received high marks from both friends and neighbors, the one thing the husband loves above all else is his pizza oven, which, I am told, is in continual use!

Terrifying Landscapes

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hal-7I must have been bitten by a Ghoul or perhaps a Goblin because I’ve had Halloween on my mind for the last week. Not that we go trick or treating — my kids are grown and I haven’t carved a pumpkin in years. but there is still something fun and even endearing about this celebration of All Hallows’ Eve.

So, to exorcise this haunting obsession, here are some interesting and even terrifying takes on how one might celebrate this haunted holiday…

Trick or Treat

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hal-12Have A Frightful Halloween!

Backyard Magic – Creating Cozy Comfort

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cashmere-before

Project Objective

The objective of this landscape design project was to take a small, unattractive 50s backyard and make it more attractive and functional. This included updating it to the 21st century with a living area, dining area and barbecue, but also using scale and imagination to make it appear larger than it actually is.

Cashmere-1

Work Done

We began expanding the existing space by altering the shape of the low brick wall to provide more space and to raise it to chair height, providing additional seating. Old trees and unattractive shrubs were removed and replaced with plant material that reflected the color scheme (selected to accent the gray house) of white, green and burgundy.

Cashmere-3

The water feature was enlarged with more stone to give a more natural look and enhanced with a larger pump to increase its water flow. The plants surrounding it were replaced with ones that helped focus the eye and make it appear natural to the site.

A retaining wall was installed to account for difference in elevation between the neighbors’ property and my client’s and the dilapidated wooden fence was replaced with tongue and grove fencing, painted to match the house.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Pets and Toxic Plants

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English Springer Spaniel

While I’m not normally asked about the toxicity of the plants that I add to a client’s landscape, this question did come up recently regarding the back yard I was re-designing.  The owner wanted to know if any of the plants that were being considered would be harmful to their two Springer Spaniels. I said that I didn’t believe so, but that I would check to see if any of them were considered toxic to animals.

The Sago Palm I knew to be quite toxic to dogs and I have always been judicious in its use. However, I wanted to be sure that nothing I selected or anything else on the property was toxic, so I checked with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine website and here is what they had to say. Needless to say, none of these were used in the landscaping.

A surprisingly large number of common garden and household plants are toxic to pets, and reactions to toxicity range from mild to life-threatening. Pets, like young children, explore the world with their senses, and they are therefore vulnerable to accidental poisoning. Many of these plants make wonderful additions to the garden, but it is important to know which plants are toxic. If possible, avoid planting these where pets (or children) will have frequent unsupervised access to the plants.

The 12 plants listed below are responsible for the majority of calls to our Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) about possible plant poisoning. The list was compiled by Director of Pharmacy Dr. Valerie Wiebe. The toxicity of the plants below varies according to the species of animal exposed (cat, dog, bird, etc.), the amount of the plant that was ingested, and the specific variety or species of the plant.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the plants below, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see if symptoms appear, because in some cases of poisoning, by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save the animal.

  1. Day Lillies
    Day Lillies

    Lilies (Lilium, all spp.): Ingesting any part of the plant can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. First symptoms appear in a few hours and may include appetite suppression, lethargy, vomiting. Cats are especially sensitive to lily poisoning, so be very careful to keep your cats away from liliies of any kind, including the Amaryllis, Easter lilies, and Stargazer lilies so often found in homes around the holidays.

  2. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis): Ingesting any part of the plant can cause cardiac dysrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, weakness, and even death. (Photo courtesy of freebigpictures.com web site).
  3. Anemone (Anenome and Pulsatilla, family Ranunculaceae): Irritating to the mucus membranes, and can cause blisters, hemorrhagic gastritis, shock, convulsions, and death. (Photo is Japanese Anemone).
  4. http://blog.garden-of-eva.com/?p=1789 Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.
  5. Amaryllis (family Amaryllidaceaea, incl. Hippeastrum spp.) All species, including Belladonna Lily, are toxic, and especially dangerous to cats. The bulbs are the toxic part of the plant. The “Amaryllis” commonly seen during the December holidays are Hippeastrum species. Symptoms include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hyper-salivation, anorexia, tremors. (Photo courtesy of Ellen Zagory, UC Davis Arboretum).
  6. Asparagus Fern (family Liliaceae): Allergic dermatitis, gastric upset, vomiting, diarrhea.
  7. Daffodil (Narcissus): Vomiting, diarrhea. Large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, cardiac arrhythmias.
  8. Philodendrons: Irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
  9. Jade Plants (Crassula argentea): Vomiting, depressions, ataxia, slow heart rate.
  10. Chrysanthemums: Vomiting, diarrhea, hyper salivation, incoordination, dermatitis.
  11. Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum): The tubers or rhizomes contain the toxic glycoside cyclanin, a terpenoid saponin. Ingestion can cause excess salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures, or even death in rare cases.
  12. Cycads (including Sago palm; cardboard palm; etc.): The “Sago palm” is a cycad, not a true palm, and all parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, melena (black “tarry” feces), icterus (jaundice), increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver failure, and death. A northern California police dog, a patient at one of our Companion Animal Memorial Fund donor clinics, died in November 2011 after ingesting parts of this plant.

For more information about plants that are toxic to dogs and cats here is a link to Southern California’s Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants. 

Add A Stream To Your Drought-Tolerant Landscape

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House-w_streamThe New Normal

As California’s drought continues with no end in sight, I have had a substantial increase in client interest in turning front and back yards into drought-tolerant or Xeriscape landscapes.

The reason for this is obvious; it saves an enormous amount of water since grass can easily consume over half a gallon of water per square foot every time you water. To put that into perspective, a 100′ x 100′ lawn uses 6,230 gallons of water every time your sprinkler heads pup up. In addition to saving water and saving the cost of all of that water, it saves substantially on the amount of time and energy needed to maintain the landscape – no grass to cut and most native and drought-tolerant plants require little or no maintenance.

But What Will It Look Like?

This is the question every client asks after they acknowledge the importance of saving water. My answer is to tell them that drought-tolerant, Xeriscape landscaping has been done for centuries all along the Mediterranean, although it wasn’t called that; it was just the way folks created gardens when there was very little available water. And the gardens of the Costa Del Sol, the South of France, the Italian Riviera, and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and Greece are filled with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the in the world and with nary a blade of grass in sight.

Add A Stream – Wet or Dry

There are a number of ways to turn a grassy front and/or back yard into a stunning drought-tolerant garden. Any well-designed landscape takes into the consideration the confirmation of the property and the architecture of the structure. It’s not just about ripping out the grass and sticking plants in the ground.

If you have the space and a little elevation, a stream can be created that can turn a boring piece of property into a stunning garden.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Tips to Help Trees Survive Drought

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Our California drought is not going away. In fact, given the current weather and worsening drought conditions, this fall will probably be the worst forest fire season in the state’s history. In addition, the state and local communities are significatly increasing regulations regarding the use of water for lawns and have added substantial fines for its misuse.

I came across this info graphic on ways to help your trees survive the drought. Even if you allow your grass to die or decided to replace it with drought-tollernat and native plants, your trees are not only a significant investment in money and time, they add substantial value of your property and provide a number of environmental contributions.  Providing the correct amount of water and right nutrients can help trees and plants survive through severe droughts. If you would like to print this out and keep it handy to refer to, please Click Here

Prepared by the California Urban Forests Council and Invest from the Ground Up to help landscapers and property owners help trees not only survive a drought, but thrive in one. 

Drought-infographic_Trees

Additional Information

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to articles I’ve written on the subject :