DIY Landscape Design

DISCLOSURE: I’m not a professional landscape designer. I just pretend to be one on my blog ;).

Summer is quickly approaching and I’ve been taking a hard look at the corner of my back yard that needs a little love. A few years ago we hired someone to put up a retaining wall and pour a circle patio so that we can enjoy the unused space. Well, it’s been a few years and we still don’t enjoy it as much as we should. The gazebo cover is tearing (it was a hand-me-down from neighbors that moved) and the hill is overgrown with weeds.

I pulled some weeds today and was left with a bare hill. It looks pathetic. I’ve had some grandiose thought of making it some tropical paradise but it wouldn’t work with the climate in my area. Every time I put some kind of plant here it just doesn’t take (we’ve got clay soil). The hill is difficult – it’s dry, clay, and has a harsh partial shade.

Most people don’t realize that San Diego is really a desert climate. We get about 9-10 inches of rain PER YEAR. The temperatures vary depending on how far you are from the ocean, I’m in an area where it’s usually 10 degrees warmer than the coast and is generally more sunny. So I have to be conscientious about how much water we’re using when it comes to landscaping. 

I’m fortunate enough to have quick access to the Water Conservation Garden and I’m able to look at real-life samples of xeriscaping and how we can create a sustainable garden (if you’re in San Diego, you should really check it out). Plus, they provide the “Nifty 50” guide that lists plants that are drought tolerant and are available in our region. I figured that it’s time to re-evaluate. So here’s what I’ve got:

Little hill with minimal plants
Little hill with minimal plants

I have a few plants in there that seem to be living without water—That’s good, The dot at the top shows the current location of the capped-off sprinkler head.[/caption]

Lastly, I need to consider maintenance. While most of the plants will be low maintenance, I will need to cut back the fountain grass and sage once a year… I’m fine with that! Mulch is definitely in order for this area, too. Not only will it help retain moisture, it keeps the weeds at bay and makes it look a lot better than, well, dirt. 

So that’s the plan. I’ll keep you updated on how it turns out! 

4 thoughts on “DIY Landscape Design

  1. Looks like a great idea! Very impressed with your Photoshop skills, too! The kids love gardening, and we've been trying to figure out what to plant, and where. So many factors including soil, sunlight, irrigation… The farthest we've gone is to plant some flowers in containers. I used to garden a lot prior to having kids.

    1. Thanks! It helps to be dealing with photoshop on a daily basis for my job. BTW, this is not my best work since I pretty much whipped it up in a matter of minutes. I’ve lived in this house for over 11 years now and we’re just starting to get it the way we want it. And yes, having kids puts a lot of projects on the backburner!

    1. Thanks for the offer, Laura! You know, I just divided one that was in my planter. But I love those flaxes so much, I don’t mind having more. I’d like to put one in the corner of my front yard – I’ll be emailing you!

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