Landscape Design

San Diego Hillside

Gardening Question From Janet: I live in San Diego, in the mission bay area. I have a huge hill/ slope in my back yard. I have planted Rosemary and ceonothus. Some survived but the side of the hill that didn’t survive there was a pine tree at the top of the hill. We have since […]

Wildflower Mix For Steep Bank

Gardening Question From Clare: PLEASE HELP…..we are building our new house in Fallbrook CA .and have a very long and steep bank which has to be stabilized > I do want to do a more long range landscape plan but need to get seed mixture on bank for building inspector …There are so many seed […]

Beach Front Plants for English Seacoast Gardens

Question from Katie: Hi Pat, just found your www site and saw it said, “Send a Q to Pat”, so, here goes… location: seaside, south-facing (in England: the sunny side), sheltered terrace.  Required: architectural, evergreen, “WOW!” plants that will tolerate minus 5 centigrade in winter, occasionally a little lower, but not “cold & wet” as […]

Evergreen Trees for Median

Question from Lena: We live in Harbor City, CA.  The majority of the trees planted on the median are I think some form of a pepper tree.  The roots are invasive to plumbing not to mention the sidewalks. Where occasionally LA city comes around as slaps black top on the sidewalks to cover the cracks […]

Romancing the Garden: A philosophy of gardening Pt 4

A garden may reflect a certain time or place, perhaps a country you love. Pots, statuary, choose tasteful statuary and garden ornaments to add art and whimsy Bird houses Murals, mosaics Statues and design elements can hearken back to ancient times, other times and places. But since a garden is all for fun, could be […]

Concrete Bag Steps

Question from Heidi: I recall you sharing this technique to create steps in a garden, & would like to do it in a small incline in our yard. Are there any strategies to laying the bags down, eg cutting into the slope to provide a support for the bags? Should it be the same width […]

Romancing the Garden: A philosophy of gardening Pt 3

The next step is: How do you carry it out? Mine in a nutshell is: “Create a romantic garden and then live in it.” A Paradise Garden The Garden of Eden Dictionary definition of romance: “Imagination, love, idealization, wafting one to another time or place excitement, love, and adventure of the kind found in romantic literature. […]

Planting on a Bank & Best Substitutes for Lawns

Question from Howard: We are a Homeowners association with a steep bank, 45 degrees or steeper, three blocks long and about 30 feet high. What drought tolerant plant(s) would you recommend? Also, what ground cover, if any, would you recommend to replace grass areas? Answer from Pat: Before I can answer your question, I need […]

Strawberries for Groundcover and for Fruit

Question from Stanley: I live in Nevada City, California. This is my latest landscape project. (I am a computer programmer, but try to knock out a couple of home projects a year to make myself feel useful and adequate.) I had intended to plant creeping thyme or something aromatic like that. (The water is stubbed […]

Romancing the Garden: A philosophy of gardening Pt 2

To clarify the ideas in this book, I have illustrated it with photos from my own garden and those of friends and family. I am very keen on the idea that a garden needs to be in harmony with the architecture of the house it surrounds. My own house is 50 years old and was […]