This garden's evolution began when the owners moved into the home 15 years ago. The front yard was dominated by a sloping, shade-defeated lawn. The backyard lacked variety in its plantings: one Italian Stone Pine surrounded by Rosemary, a lawn that sloped toward the house causing drainage problems and a hillside of iceplant. The side yards were covered in English Ivy. Finding vermin in the Ivy and Iceplant convinced them that things had to change.
Following a one-day class on hardscaping, the make-over was soon underway. After the hardscaping was complete, Stephen Gabor, a landscape architect and family friend, helped to select sandy-loam loving plants for the front, side and lower-back areas. After several years pause, they added the terracing on the hillside and with an eye to helping our environment, planted California Natives. To reduce water consumption, they converted the traditional lawn to UC Verde Buffalo Grass. They discovered an unforseen benefit of this choice- Buffao Grass is hypoallergenic).
A wider variety of birds and insects now visit the garden - the garden has become an ecosystem - it is so alive now. They planted the hillside plants this winter and last winter, so it is a young garden. The long term goal is to bring the California Natives into the established areas of the garden.