Thursday, August 21, 2014


If you live in the city of San Clemente and are looking to transform your landscape from boring and cookie cutter to drought tolerant and hip then this is perfect for you.   Basically the city of San Clemente is doing a pilot program in which city residents can get reimbursed for design consultation at Tree of Life Nursery through their designer in residence program.

If you live in San Clemente and would like more information about the program then click here for more information.   This is a great way for San Clemente residents to get ideas about California native plants and other landscape features.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I love the idea of designing landscapes and getting creative with the designs that I do. Having said that I recently realized that I have been getting into a lot of circles. Completely unintentional I did a few design with circle paths. Below are two.

In the first design located in Tustin, CA the existing driveway and path shall remain.  The narrow path that leads from the front door to the street will be extended.  The path that leads to the side yard gate is circular because the homeowners have 3 young kids that would surely love an area to be able to run around and play. The paving will be soft set pavers with Dymondia in between acting as the grout.  I recommend soft setting hardscape whenever possible as that allows for any excess water to permeate through as opposed to running off into the storm drain.  The planting in this case is a mixture of 95% California native plants and 5% non native plants with 4 existing trees that will remain in place.

The goal is to reduce water consumption, eliminate the lawn and also not have a cookie cutter landscape that you see planted everywhere. Now if only more residents would get on board and change their boring landscapes to pretty drought tolerant alternatives.

The other design (located in Fountain Valley, CA) which also includes a circle is a bit smaller in size but has a similar concept.  In this case the circular pathway as well as the path that leads to the front door will be a combination of stones and groundcover.  The plants are a mixture of CA native plants, CA friendly plants, succulents and some existing plants that will remain.  

The above project is currently being bid while this one is under construction.  Yesterday 90% of the plants got installed (left photo).  Stay tuned for updates on both designs.  As always if live in Orange County and need a landscape designer then do not hesitate to contact me.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I was asked in April to design a front yard for a couple that had torn down what was their one story house and were building their two story dream.  The trick to meeting all their needs was doing so on a shoe string budget.

So the plan was to create a seating area along with some raised and not raised planters.  There is also going to be an area of grass.  The paths and driveway are concrete to save on cost and the majority of the plants will be California native.

They had decided to paint their house a gray color which coordinates nicely with the natural gray concrete.  The ledger stone which has mixed gray tones also coordinates well with the other materials. In this design the color pops will be the plants.  From different leaf color to different flower colors this garden will be something pretty to drive by and look at.

When you are faced with a shoe string budget and are not sure where to begin then this creates a perfect scenario in which it would be wise to consult and hire a professional.  The time it would take for you to do research to determine what will work for you space is time that you could be spending with your loved ones.  In the end the cost of doing the landscape yourself is more than hiring a professional.