Tag Archives: Sonoma Landscape Design

Cement Pour – First Street West

26 Jan

Been super busy, haven’t been posting, had a great holiday, nice trip to Paris and Bordeaux, my phone got wet – don’t ask how – lost some pics I was going to post. Life got in the way. Here’s where we were today, redoing the front yard and vanity vineyard for wonderful clients who live in San Francisco. Last year, we put in a pool, hot tub, patio and pergola in the backyard and added some espalier fruit trees, roses … Now we are building an Ipe, country style fence in the front with a modern sliding gate. Steel Geisha is fabricating the gate. It will be a steel frame with Ipe horizontal panels to match the fence. We’ll add Ipe on top of the existing cement patio and put hog wire panels with vines on the side. We’re changing out the front door for a custom door with horizontal wood by Sonoma Door & Sash. We’re using Rocky Mountain Hardware for the door. We’re getting rid of the wireless doorbell that played “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” and wouldn’t stop. The light fixtures will be swapped out for modern, farm-style fixtures from Restoration Hardware in weathered zinc. The ugly lamppost will be remade to match . Today we were pouring cement for the driveway, which we are redoing. It will have pretty gravel and landscaping after the driveway. The color of the cement is Davis Cocoa.

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Modern Farmhouse

22 May

Modern Farmhouse

Here is a throwback to one of my favorite projects. I absolutely adore this restored historic farmhouse, and it was fun working on the design in front, and putting in the pool with the lawn flanking the Ipe deck. Check out the Canary date palms and stucco planters. See more pictures of this beautiful house, including the interior, over at Birdman Inc location scouting

April is National Landscape Design Month!!!

21 Apr

This year’s theme for NLAM is Designing for Your Health and Well Being. The organizers have designed a really neat brochure to explain the ideas behind this month’s theme and events.

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Putting up clematis avalanche

6 Oct

On steel trellises fabricated by Steel Geisha.

It’s the White Evergreen Clematis from San Marcos Growers

Kids in the sandbox in the show garden

28 Mar

Well, the San Francisco Garden Show is over. We are breaking down my show garden today. It’s a wrap. Here are some  pictures of kids playing in the sandbox in my garden. There were a lot of kids at the show and many activities for them.

One little girl came running up and asked, “what was the number for the sandbox?” because she wanted to vote for it.

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Showtime and the Plant List

23 Mar

We finished putting the show garden together yesterday at noon. Then the judges did their thing.

Later there was a gala party with show organizers, garden creators, show supporters, etc. It was nice to speak with the other garden creators. We nibbled on some hors d’oeuvres and there was a swinging big band playing some jazz too.

The SF Garden Show opened to the public this morning and goes through Sunday. There are some really great gardens. A whole lot of work went into them.

I spent most of today in my garden answering questions.

People are looking for ideas and were asking about plants.

This is the plant list I’ve been giving out. Lots of California natives here.

And this is the Postcard we’ve been handing out with contact information for the wonderful suppliers who helped make this garden possible.

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Show Garden Construction Beginning

19 Mar

We started show garden construction for the SF Garden show yesterday. Below, the guys with El Alamo Landscape construction helped with loading in this huge multi-trunk palm tree from Palm Island Nursery.

The truck rolled in from Lyngso Garden Materials, the company that graciously supplies landscape materials for all of the show gardens (stone, mulch, compost, construction materials, etc).

Below is a really cool chandelier made of succulents that we’ll be hanging. It’s from Palm Island Nursery too.

Today we’re continuing with the hardscape construction: putting up some stucco walls and loading some of the heavier items.

Tomorrow our extremely amazing plant supplier, Lisa Arnold Nursery will be delivering some great specimens.

Partnering with a Leader in Outdoor Living

19 Mar

The show garden we’re putting together for next week’s San Francisco Garden Show wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful partners and suppliers, including Outdora, a company that supplies an incredible array of products for outdoor living.

They have a wonderful selection of luxurious home and garden merchandise:

You name it: fire pits?  greenhouses? outdoor furniture? high-end BBQ grills?

Outdora’s own president Stuart Sager will be at the show too.

Outdora is providing a new freestanding Lynx 36″ Grill and Rotisserie for the show garden display. It’s a gorgeous grill.  Below is a picture of me taking a picture of a very similar grill from Lynx that’s in Outdora’s showroom window. The one we’ll have is a tad bigger: Perfect for the California Dreaming Garden. Learn more and purchase here.

Outdora is also supplying two other key items for the garden: an Earthmaker Composter and an outdoor shower from the Outdoor Lamp Company.

The extra eco-friendly Earthmaker aerobic composter is a three stage composter that can produce 10 gallons of compost each month. The chambers keep the fresh waste, the digesting waste, and the maturing waste separate. This makes the Earthmaker Composter twice as fast as regular compost bins. Learn more and purchase here.

The outdoor shower will be placed behind a claw-foot bathtub that will be decorated with sea shells. Learn more and purchase here.

Outdora has had a presence online since 2005 and last May officially opened the Outdora Showroom, located a half block off the historic Sonoma Plaza in Sonoma – a fabulous location.

Come to the show and check it all out in person.

Planter Boxes for Fruit Trees

30 Dec

Plant delivery today. The last one of 2010. We installed fruit trees in these rectangular redwood planter boxes I designed. It was pretty cold out there early this morning.

Trees were Fugi Apple, Granny Smith, Bing Cherry, Black Tart Cherry, Washington Navel Orange and Nagumi Kumquat.

We installed electrical outlets in each box so we can add Christmas lights to the trees, especially the citrus, because the heat of the lights helps protect against frost damage. LED lights don’t work – not hot enough.

Below – the Ag Inspector checked the plants for pests. Nursery shipments to Napa County are inspected for wine grape pests – the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter and Light Brown Apple Moth.

I love this Orange kniphofia. – Kniphofia rooperi. It’s already flowering in winter in Napa. I got it from San Marcos Growers. Its super drought tolerant but it won’t die if you over water it, like some other kniphofias – I don’t want to name names, but its yellow. I planted the Kniphofia rooperi by oak trees.

Check out the frost on the ground. My black mulch looks gray. I know there was a blizzard on the east coast this week but this is cold for us.

Eco-lawn and straight dope on gas-powered lawn mowers

12 Nov

Conventional lawns aren’t so much in style these days, at least here in Northern California. They require a lot of maintenance and are often frowned on because they suck up a lot of water. They’re just not very sustainable. More often than not, my clients tend to favor drought tolerant native plants and grasses. If they are to have some traditional lawn, they typically limit it to a small area, though there are exceptions. Meadow gardens are in favor these days.

As an aside, this article from Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope says Americans likely burn more than 600 million gallons of gasoline a year cutting the grass (thanks to Michelle at Fine Gardening for the link).

There are a variety of environmentally friendly options. One product I’ve come across is called Eco-Lawn. They call it the “ultimate low-maintenance drought-tolerant lawn.” Eco-lawn was first was brought to my attention by Miriam Goldberger.  It seems to be catching on and — check out this video — has even received attention from Martha Stewart. I like it.

I’ve used the “no-mow” lawn before with good results. The Eco lawn uses less water – a big plus – but is available as seed – not sod. You can use it in the shade, in part-shade or in full sun

This is some “eco-lawn” we seeded at a site in Napa. It is still growing in. It looks great, uses less water, and doesn’t require one of those gas-sucking lawn mowers either.

Makes sense.

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