Stylish and Sustainable Garden Design
Living and designing in California, the ongoing and severe drought we’re experiencing is on everyone’s minds. And as such, drought-tolerant gardens are rapidly replacing outdated water-thirsty landscapes. While everyone is on board with the concept of a drought-tolerant garden I inevitably hear the same hesitation from clients – they don’t want their low-water garden to look like their neighbor’s new garden down the street. They want to make sure their new garden still reflects their personality and individual style.
This is a valid concern as it seems many drought-tolerant gardens seem to focus on the same twenty plants over and over again, with the end result being one of uninspired predictability. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to avoid this common trap.
For my clients who want a more traditional East Coast feeling in their garden, color is key. It’s important that I include low-water plants that contain a higher proportion of greens, maroons, blues and purples to mix along with the more common gray tones. The effect will be the same – a reduction in water use – but the garden will appear cool and lush.
For my clients who prefer a Mediterranean feel in their gardens, I tend to use a larger amount of warm colors, such as oranges, golds and reds mixed in with the greens and grays. The result is a garden that appears to glow in our perpetually sunny days.
But just because I’m reducing the use of water in these gardens doesn’t mean I’m eliminating it all together. On the contrary, it’s important to include a source of water in the garden as the sight and sound of it not only reinforces that we’re not living in the Sahara Desert but it also provides a much-needed source of water for wildlife during these thirsty times.
And depending on the style chosen, the fountain is one more way to help further define the character of the garden. For my East Coast inspired gardens, a traditional, stately three-tiered fountain is right at home, nestled among the Corsican hellebore, lavender and native penstemon.
And for my Mediterranean-inspired gardens, a simple antique olive jar blends seamlessly into the surrounding garden filled with succulents, salvias and grasses.