Tag Archives: sustainable landscape design

California Native Plants: Beautiful – Fragrant – Drought Tolerant

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sept-1I have written a number of blogs and newsletters concerning California’s drought, sustainable landscape design and the use of drought tolerant plants, the ways one can save water and save money, as well as how to help protect your property against wildfires.

All of this material has now been collected, including available down-loadable PDFs, on my website page, Sustainable Green Landscape Design, which I encourage you to check out and download. However … I’ve never looked specifically at California Native Plants and what a wonderful natural resource they are, particularly as our current drought looks like it’s becoming a permanent reality.

logoThe Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flower and Native Plants, located in Sun Valley, is dedicated to preserving, propagating and promoting California native plants, seeds and wild flowers – native treasures that conserve water and other resources, provide habitat for wildlife, and add color and fragrance to the garden.

The Foundation operates a year-round, retail nursery – should you decided to go native – offering the region’s largest and most interesting selection of California native plants – hundreds of different species and cultivars, many of which are drought tolerant and low maintenance. Their Education Center and Outreach programs offer classes and field trips for adults and children. You can easily spend a day there learning what California natives has to offer.

What follows are some pertinent thoughts and ideas I’ve selected from the Foundation’s California Native Plant Database.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

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 :

Birmingham Largest Green Wall in U.S. Airport

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When I saw this article in the blog,  Total Landscape Care, I thought, “What a brilliant way to greet passengers coming off a claustrophobic  flight.”

Birmingham Airport Garden-Wall
Birmingham Airport Garden Wall

While I love to travel, I, as I am sure most of you who don’t fly First Class, have come to dread the prospect of getting from here to there shoe-horned into those sardine cans in the sky. And when you do get to where you’re going and join the rest of your cabin mates pouring into the terminal, you’re most often greeted by a noisy, advertising-filled environment you can’t wait to get out of.

I am a great advocate of green walls whether you want to cover a boring piece of concrete or make a statement in your entrance hall. Green walls can be constructed in any number of ways, out of a range of materials and can host a diverse selection of plants.

The Blog

Flowers-Green-WallThe first thing travelers see when they get off of a plane at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, might not be welcoming faces. Instead, they will be greeted with the largest green wall in a U.S. airport.

The 1,400-square-foot living wall, called “Earth, Wind and Water: The Landscape of Alabama,” features 8,000 plants belonging to 60 species indigenous to the state, according to AL.com.

Living-WallDuring the past few years, the airport has undergone several renovations, and the wall goes toward the $201.6 million terminal modernization project. The green wall ties together themes from four regions in Alabama, showing plant life from the North Alabama uplands through the state’s river valleys and farmland to the coast, according to the site.

A few inches thick, the wall is covered with a layer of recycled fabric and an auto-irrigation system. Some of the species include orchids and insect-eating plants.

They also added hybrid pineapples, which will be harvested. The wall will be open to the public this month in Concourse C. 

One Of My Walls

Recently installed, this green wall was designed for full sun and uses a range of drought-tollerent plants. It serves as the visual backdrop for a fountain and  sculpture, helping to focus the eye in what is a large and very bright terrace.

Garden of Eva-2
Los Angeles Office of Homeland Security

 

California Approves Mandatory Water Conservation

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Folsom Lake Reservoir
Folsom Lake Reservoir

While this may not be news to some of you, it’s important that as many people in California are made aware of how serious a drought we are facing and how little is being done to conserve water. “People really don’t understand the gravity of the drought, particularly in urban California, where people are hundreds of miles from their water source,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, which voted on Tuesday (7/15/14) to impose the following regulations, which are scheduled to take effect around August 1st.

Water Regulations

  • outdoor watering limited to two days a week
  • washing of sidewalks and driveways prohibited
  • washing cars banned without a shut-off nozzle on the hose
  • fountains using non-reciruclated, potable water are banned outright

Violations may be punished with fines of up to $500 per day

Beverly Hills Landscape
Beverly Hills Landscape

South Coast Region Water Use Has Increased

While none of the state’s 10 hydraulic regions have conserved as much as the governor asked for, most cut back at least 5 percent in May. The biggest exception is the South Coast region, which includes the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, as well as Orange County. There, water use increased 8 percent over previous years.

Almond Orchard
Almond Orchard

80% Of California In Extreme Drought

New National Weather Service data show that more than 80% of California is now in an extreme drought and is probably headed into a deeper drought this summer, making it harder to escape in the future.

The drought has already pummeled farmers in California, which is home to the nation’s largest agricultural sector. So far this year, about a third less water than usual has been available to the state’s farmers, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. The report projected that the drought would cost about $2.2 billion in statewide revenue this year, and that 17,100 farm-related jobs would be lost.

Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design
Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design

What You Can Do

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

Save Water In The Yard This Summer

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I came across this excellent info-graphic about how we use water and some excellent tips on how to save it this summer, which will help our drought situation and could save you a good amount of money on your water bills. It’s well worth taking a look at and I have turned it into a downloadable PDF so you can print it out and post it where it will remind you about being “WATER WISE.” Click HERE to download.

In addition, here are three truly informative links:

Water-Infographic_TLC-magazine

Garden of Eva Handouts on Landscape Design, Water Conservation & Drought Tolerant Plant Selection

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Malibu_11On May 13th I was pleased to speak at  the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association on sustainable (“Green”) landscape design and the use of drought-tolerant, Mediterranean and native California species in designing a beautiful yet sustainable landscape. There were approximately 75 people in the audience and a number had questions about plant selection and how to better use water.

I suspected these topics might generate a lot of interest, so I prepared two handouts to provide more information than I could possibly communicate in the 15 minutes I had to speak. I also included a landscaping design check list, which is very helpful if you’re considering doing any work.

I thought it would be a good idea to make these handouts available to anyone who stopped by, so here are their links.

Lanscape Design Checklist

Water Conservation Information

Drought Tolerant Plant Selection

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to my website and newsletters:

 

 

May 13 – 7 PM – Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Revealed

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Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association May 13th MeetingAt the invitation of the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association I will be speaking on sustainable (“Green”) landscape design and the use of drought-tolerant, Mediterranean and native California species. The focus of the talk will be on how their use can save you money on your water bill and make a positive contribution to the serious drought California currently faces, as well as help ease our state’s ever-diminishing water supply.

If you’re interested in learning about drought-tolerant design and intelligent-water management, you are cordially invited to attend the meeting (no reservation required) on Tuesday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. at the Van Ness Elementary School, 501 N. Van Ness Ave., Los AngelesSEE MAP

A couple of the topics I’ll touch on are:

  • How sustainable landscape design can be beautiful, provide curb appeal and integrate with your home’s architecture.
  • How to save money by replacing water-guzzling grass with a drought-tolerant landscape.
  • How to water drought-tolerant species.
  • How to prepare the ground and the kind of fertilizer to use.
  • Drought-tolerant plant selection?

In addition, I will provide handouts on the use of drought tolerant plants, the intelligent use of water and a landscaping design check list.

Garden of Eva Landscaping Design Group

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to my website and newsletters:

To understand just how serious our water shortage is and how important water conservation plays in our environment’s sustainability, here’s an update from the L.A. TIMES date April 25, 2014 by Jason Wells.

Drought covers 100% of California for first time in 15 years

2014 California Drought

A prolonged period of below-average rainfall has put the entire state of California under some level of drought, ranging in severity from moderate to exceptional, for the first time in 15 years.

The latest drought monitor released by the National Climatic Data Center this week shows that the entire state is under moderate drought conditions, but within that map, 76.6% of the state is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and for 24.7% of the state, the level of dryness is “exceptional.”

During the same period last year, none of the state was considered to be under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, and just 30% fell under the “severe” category, according to the assessment released Thursday.

“This is a really serious situation here in California and people need to be cognizant of that and start conserving water as much as they can,” said Jayme Laber, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service who is part of a team of scientists who contribute to the weekly drought monitor.

The lack of substantial precipitation over the last three rain seasons has affected every part of the state, “some worse than others,” Laber said.

While many municipalities across the state have instituted voluntary conservation measures, some have gone further. As of May 1, customers in Santa Cruz will have to cut their water use by 25% or face stiff financial penalties. The mandatory restrictions are the first for the city in 25 years, CBS San Francisco reported.

The statewide situation eased somewhat after soaking rains in Northern California earlier this year allowed the State Water Project, which supplies a majority of the state, to announce that it would make 5% of the system’s allocation — a minor bump from the zero allocation that customers had been expecting.

Still, NOAA reported last week that half of the Sierra Nevada’s snow pack liquid water equivalent melted in one week, spurred by statewide temperatures that were as much as 12 degrees above average. The melt did little to boost reservoirs.

Unable To Attend?

If you’re unable to attend the meeting, the presentation will be videotaped and posted on my website, Garden Of Eva Landscape Design Group, and on my blog, A Gardener’s Thoughts & Fancies, or you can subscribe to my newsletter, “Eva’s Notes & News,” as it will be included in next month’s edition.

Top Outdoor Living Trends That Add Resale Value

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I am, thankfully, busier than ever – both as a landscape designer and as a landscape contractor. I am working with a number of clients to transform their front and back yards into wonderful, livable spaces that are not only beautiful outdoor environments designed for relaxation and entertaining but are far more environmentally friendly and far less expensive to maintain than the water-guzzling grass that had previously covered the majority of these sites.

Garden Of Eva Landscape Design GroupA great deal of what I’m doing is the design and construction of hardscape environments. This increased interest in construction was highlighted when I came across a survey of 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects. According to their survey (which follows) American homeowners are increasingly interested in creating outdoor rooms and outdoor kitchens (hardscape) for entertaining and relaxation. The results of the survey confirm what I’ve been hearing: with the economy improving and real estate prices heading upward, homeowners are now willing to invest in their homes. It’s clear that they want to maximize their properties’ enjoyable, usable spaces, to save money on maintenance while at the same timeincreasing their homes’ resale value.

Building What People Want Is A Wise Investment

Encino-9The following survey will give you an idea of how a serious sampling of homeowners are looking to improve their properties. It would be a helpful guide if you too are looking to make such an investment. Because, let’s face it, if you’re going to spend the time, energy and money improving you landscape, you might as well know what most people are looking for so that in the event you decided to sell … those improvements will turn out to be a wise investment.

 To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

The Yin and Yang of Landscape Design

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Oasis

Water Features

Water features come in every conceivable size and description and they are an ideal addition to a landscape that will be planted with native and drought-tolerant plants.

It may seem incongruous to think about creating a stream or pond or placing a fountain in a landscape that looks more like a dessert than a sylvan glade, but the right feature can not only give your landscape a focus, it can act as a stunning counterpoint to rocks and stones in a succulent filled, “green” garden.

Just think of an oasis in the dessert – the yin and yang of landscape design – polar opposites but perfect complements.

If you’ve come to the realization that pouring water on a lawn is not only wasting a precious resource it’s wasting your money, then the time has come to pull out that lawn and give yourself a blank canvas to work on.

Here are some ideas that I hope will convince you that having a yard that can pass as a putting green is not only inappropriate, given the drought conditions that Southern California is now facing, it is boring!

 To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News