When Paul Hendershot and his trusty dog Chief walk through the door, our day at Eye of the Day becomes just that much better. Paul likes to stroll through the store, seeing new products and picking the pieces he wants to show his clients. He’s funny and warm and stiletto sharp.
We were looking at his website one day and were pulled in by his remarkable, unique style. He often works with clients in Ojai and given the heat and water problems particular to that area, we wanted to ask him about how he works within the inherent parameters as well as get a little background.
EOD: When did you become interested in landscape design and how did you begin?
PH: I always had my own garden starting at a young age. In my mid-30s I decided to be a landscape designer. I started by doing garden maintenance on my own. I read all the best books, such as those by Russell Page. Slowly people started asking me to help design their gardens and from there it took on a life of its own.
EOD: From whom or where have you drawn the inspiration for your style?
PH: Traveling, especially in Europe and noticing. Russell Page was the most dramatic influence as well as Sydney Baumgartner from Santa Barbara.
EOD: What do you want in a water feature and how do you include them in your designs?
PH: I use water features in courtyards and places where people linger, the sound is great. I also use them in gardens to attract birds. It depends on the space if it is a wall fountain or more of a pool-like fountain.
EOD: What challenges in your designs and with your clients do you deal with when considering the drought?
PH: My biggest challenge with clients is to convince them to get rid of their lawns. People are really attached to their lawns. Lawns use more water than trees, shrubs, etc., lawns are water guzzlers.
EOD: So what do you offer them as an alternative? How do you get them to give it up?
PH: I usually suggest courtyards with trees for shade and pea gravel as the surface and of course some kind of fountain. Pea gravel is inexpensive, good looking and allows the rainwater to return to the water table. With trees and shrubs, it has a very lush look. Also, groves of trees with pea gravel pathways and boxwood clipped in geometric shapes and pots as accents.
I think we need to change our aesthetic about gardens in California. We should use the examples of Spain, the South of France, Italy, and Morocco which often feature a courtyard with trees, shrubs, pots and water features. Connect them to the house and make outside rooms.
EOD: Are there any advantages or disadvantages to container planting?
PH: Depending on the space, containers, or I should say beautiful pots, add interest and beauty. Also, you can control the soil in a pot. You can make it more acidic or use the correct soil for orchids and unusual plants. There is nothing more classic than a citrus tree in a beautiful pot.
EOD: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Paul, we can’t wait to see you and Chief at Eye of the Day really soon.
View more of Paul’s work: Paul Hendershot Design