No matter the size of each project, the principles of landscape design need to be considered and incorporated into the design.  In addition to using individual creativity, it is important to consider the principals of Unity, Balance, Function, Scope and Contrast is all design work.  A more modern approach to landscape design is to consider mixing styles, and at the same time utilize the important principles of landscape design.  Bellow are examples of different design styles. We are pleased to work with the US Green Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Horticulture Society .
Modern Xeriscape Style
At its simplest, xeriscaping is about selecting plants that can thrive in the landscape with as little supplemental water as possible. This means choosing a variety of drought tolerant plants, as well as other well-adapted species.  Water-wise landscape design can be highly modern and stylized.  Utilizing hardscapes and drought tolerant plants can provide a balanced style that will complement the architecture of our home.

While you may think the point of a xeriscape is that you don't have to water, in fact even xeric plants will need some water. During the first two summers, thorough watering at regular intervals will allow plants to develop the deep root systems they need to become strong. Once plants are mature, most people still water their landscape about once per week during the hottest times of the year. That's why professional landscapers consider a drip irrigation system a must for nearly all xeriscapes.

Though all landscaping has the potential to bring people closer to nature, people with a xeriscape may find an even deeper connection to the world around them.

Whether your interest in xeriscaping stems from wanting to save money, the environmental benefits of using fewer resources, or a desire to get away from the constant maintenance of the usual lawn-and-flowerbed style garden.  We will help you achieve your goal of planting a low-water landscape that is every bit as satisfying and beautiful as the traditional landscapes we've grown accustomed to.  Xeriscaping studies have shown countless benefits to this sustainable practice. 

Southwest/Desert Style

The Southwest/Desert style landscape design represents the dry arid regions of the west. However, you don’t have to live in those regions to admirer and implement their beauty into your own yard. The southwest style is known for its Native American and Spanish details that contribute to the overall simple, functional and low maintenance landscape. The southwest design includes native plants, and incorporates bright, colorful building materials.

Elements within Southwest gardens:
  • Native American decor
  • Terracotta tiles
  • Fountains
  • Red clay pavers
  • Natural stone
  • Plaster
  • Gravel
  • Decomposed Granite
  • Wood

When it comes to hardscaping materials, stick with colors like orange, yellow, red and brown that are often seen in the sunset or natural landscapes of the southwest. You can put a moder twist and choose pops of color like bright blue or orange.  Use similar buildings materials in areas like driveways, walkways, and walls to keep a consistent flow throughout the design. Decomposed granite is available in many desert color options and is a great material choice for walkways. Using unique brightly colored décor and plantings will make the landscape pop in areas and add character to your yard.

Common elements within a Southwest garden:
Patio - areas are an important element within this design style. A shaded area is a must especially in areas with extreme heat in the summers. Most patios provide a large shaded entertainment area that is an extension of your homes living space.
Dry creek bed - is a great way to represent water within your southwest landscape. River rock can be laid intermixed with different sized stones and boulders with native, drought tolerant plantings surrounding the edges.
Terracing - is recommended in areas where topography is sloped. Building materials like stone, boulders, or railroad ties can be used to contribute to southwestern design.

Lawns are usually not incorporated into a southwest garden unless the homeowner has children or pets in need of some open play space, however, some just prefer the look of having turf in their plan. Design a small area with a turf species that is drought tolerant, or you have the option of using artificial turf as well.

Colorful plantings - that are native and woody are ideal for this southwest plant palette. Flowering shrubs that attract birds and other wildlife mix perfectly with the desert colored hardscape material.

The Southwest design style adds comfort to your home by extending your outdoor living space with a spacious covered patio, decorated in hanging and potted plants, wall decorations and colorful accessories. If you do decide to use water in your design, use it sparingly; southwest landscapes use minimal water to make a big impact. Elements like birdbaths or water fountains are the perfect option to incorporate water as an element within your design. With limited natural resources, this landscaping style has increased in popularity within residential landscapes because it conserves water, while having a unique rustic appeal.

Mediterranean/Tuscan Style 

The gardens throughout Tuscany and the Mediterranean region have been recognized for centuries for their impressive design. From the Medici gardens to small villas within the rolling Tuscan hills, the landscapes tell the story of their past. These gardens have inspired us for centuries, starting with the renaissance gardens that have transformed into their own identity throughout the Tuscan region of Italy.

Elements within Tuscan gardens:
  • Stonework including walls and paths
  • Mediterranean plant pallet
  • Boxed hedges
  • Terra cotta pots
  • Potted plants
  • Gravel
  • Fountains
  • Urns

The region not only in its past, but to this day is inhabited by people connected to the land through farming. Mediterranean gardens are often surrounded or at least have a view of a vineyard or olive trees. If your climate allows, Incorporate citrus and potted herbs throughout your design. The simple garden design is not over done but stands alone to speak volumes.

Common areas within a Tuscan garden:
  • Arbors/Pergolas- Are often set within the Mediterranean plants as an area for relaxation individually or with a group. It’s best to place this seating area in the location with the greatest view of your landscape.
  • Benches/Individual chairs- In Tuscan gardens there are often unique styled benches and chairs spread throughout the garden offering nice area to rest and relax, or even read a book.
  • Herb/Vegetable gardens- As mentioned above, Tuscany is heavily involved and connected to the land through farming. In nearly every Tuscan garden there is designated space for an herb and vegetable garden. The produce is important to the household and the delicious Italian kitchen.

One of the most respected values of a Tuscan garden is that they are sustainable. It is very rare to see a large lawn area and other plants that require an immense amount of water to keep alive. Consider your location and this will determine many elements within your garden, such as the plant palette. Tuscan gardens often use natives and plants that are suited to their climate. This means that plants thrive in the area with little water and maintenance, because plants are encouraged to grow in their natural growth habit, this reduces maintenance.

Mediterranean gardens are best known for their casual elegance. Inspired by the coastal areas of Spain, Italy and France, this style of garden combines relaxed materials and plants with formal accents and designs. Terra cotta pots, tiered fountains, statuary, Roman columns and bocce ball courts are all hallmarks of Mediterranean gardens. The plant palette of a Mediterranean landscape is made of plants that provide texture, color and structure - think lavender, cypress trees and ornamental grasses.

A Mediterranean inspired landscape will transport you to another world each time you step out your door. The smell of the fragrant herbs, the sound of trickling water and the warm color of terra cotta will make you want to take a seat and enjoy a glass of wine. All that you'll be missing is a view of the glistening blue ocean.

Japanese Style 

Traditional Japanese gardens are designed for peaceful contemplation. They draw heavily on Buddhist, Shinto and Taoist philosophies and strive to provide a spiritual haven for visitors. The primary focus of an Oriental garden is nature. The elements of a Japanese garden mimic or symbolize natural elements. Thus, geometric shapes and artificial stone are not common in Asian landscape design. The more natural and harmonious a garden is, the more conducive it is to contemplation.  This landscape style works well to reduce water needs saving your money.

There are four essential elements used in Japanese garden design: rocks, water, plants, and ornaments. When selecting and arranging these elements in your space, it's important to keep in mind the main design principles of a Japanese garden, which include asymmetry, enclosure, borrowed scenery, balance and symbolism.

These principles will work together to create the proper balance in your Japanese garden.

  • Choosing simplistic and natural paving materials for a Japanese garden, including gravel, natural stone and exposed-aggregate concrete.
  • Softening the edges of paved patios and walkways by avoiding straight lines, emphasizing free-form and organic shapes, and using ground covers to disguise the edges.
  • Good plant selections for a Japanese garden, emphasizing evergreen varieties in various shapes, sizes and textures.
  • Choosing trees for a Japanese garden that symbolize strength and endurance.
  • Recommendations for choosing and arranging rocks in a Japanese garden to create artistic focal points.
  • Incorporate stone lanterns, rain chains and other traditional Japanese garden décor into your landscape.
  • Japanese-inspired water features that include elements such as bamboo water spouts, stone basins, waterfalls and Koi ponds.

Allen Sidwell, Landscape Designer published in San Diego Culture Magazine

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