Designing A Garden For The Future

 We finally have begun working on the new garden 
here in Santa Barbara
Once again rocks seem to pop up out of big rocks make more baby rocks?...
sure looks that way 

The rocks we excavated in Ojai were granite 
and here in Santa Barbara they are sandstone 
so they are a bit lighter and easier to move....
at least I think they are but I actually haven't picked any of these big boys up!

And just as we did in Ojai all the rocks we dig up 
will be re-used in the landscape in some way.

 It's actually pretty fun and creative to re-use what you have
 and re-think the possibilities.

 The yard will be enclosed by low walls 
and have a series of small garden rooms and stone landings
 The far west end of the lot will be a kitchen garden for vegetable's and herbs 
as well a seasonal cutting bed.  I have always wanted a cutting bed just for bulbs and specific seasonal flowers for arrangements so I'll give it a try here.  The beds will have special low volume netafim drip tubing and smart irrigation solutions for water conservation 
 We made a decision to completely eliminate all sod, plants and garden elements that could be 
"water hogs"
from the design.  
I really love a beautiful green lawn but the drought here in California is very severe.  

It seemed selfish and a bit short sighted to not use this opportunity to really re-think how a California garden can look with limited water.

Creating a garden for the future that can be sustained 
is where garden design is heading. 

 Most landscape architects are very focused on water use and most of the larger landscape companies have been tasked to design and build parks and urban gardens with a focus on water conservation. 

 Almost all new developments have reclaimed water plans in place and pools, ponds and huge swaths of sod are going to be a challenge to be built in the very near future.  

Also many growers here in California have developed hybrid trees and plants that are not only beautiful 
but can live happily with very little water.

So I guess this garden will take a little more thought on my part 
but I think I will feel better in the end knowing we got it right.
so....that said...the simple goal is:
 to have a great yard that requires limited water, 
 is relatively easy to care for....but...still looks awesome!

 The low garden walls will be bright white stucco with a rough hand troweled finish 
to match the old stucco on the house from the 1920's
 There is a lot of creative masonry going on here.  I had a long talk with the boulders and told them that they would either have to be blown up !....or they can stay, be nice and become part of the wall...I guess they're staying.

 Masonry work is hard work...seriously hard.  
It's dirty and hot and just about everything involved is heavy.
Many of the larger stones will be cut here on site 
and used for raised beds, columns and hard scape features
The stone is cut first with a wet saw and then shaped 
with a hammer and chisel to the size and shape needed

The stone above was cut and shaped into a cap for the entry columns.
The masons we have hired are really talented and such hard workers.  It is really interesting watching them and they take great pride in what they do.  

 As usual, the inside of the house will be neglected finished last 
but that gives us more time to make good decisions about the renovation possibilities 

 Millie seems to find the best spots for a nap...
either right in a hot dry patch of dirt or under a shady tree

both spots sound pretty darn good...especially if your a dog or a gardener!



  1. Millie is so lucky to see the progress in person.

    1. Hi Mary Ann! Yes millie is a lucky puppy....she is getting a much needed bath today xo K

  2. I feel the same way about the water use, or planning for future use. I look around at the green beauty and realize some smart changes could make a huge impact. I also can relate so much with the idea of outside first and inside last. Thanks for sharing the pictures, as I love seeing the process. It all looks so beautiful!!!
    The House of Hampton

    1. thanks Sharon. I have to admit when I started seeing all of those rocks I was really intimidated but now I see them as part of the design. Hoping for the best ; o ))))

  3. as a landscape designer i feel for my fellow gardeners in california. you however are coming up with creative solutions! and that masonry is to die for
    looking forward to your progress

    1. Thank you Debra! It's just a bit more work but great gardens are never easy right?

  4. Goodness. When one has a vision isn't it amazing what lengths we will go to for it's creation? I know it's going to be beautiful !!!

  5. I love how you are using the rock and keeping some of the big rocks, it looks fantastic! I love everything you do and love watching your process. You mentioned growers that are growing hybrid trees and plants for using less water.....where can I find out more info on this? Who is growing or selling these in California now? That is something I am interested in too as a California gardener with our water issues. :)

    1. Monrovia Nurseries is an industry leader in new hybrids. You can view all of their things on their website and most major garden center carry Monrovia as well. Thanks Christine...hope that helps ; o )

  6. The Boulders part of the wall genius, it looks like it's been there a 100 years and this is landscaping at its best, natural and well planted. I've told you this before and I will tell you again, your cottage seaside home is divinly cottage perfect, love the stark white and the French colbalt Bleu trim, with the new landscaping it will be a home to love for eternity

    And by chance you pick up to leave I want to be at the top of your move in list :)

    Cannot wait to see it finished.



  7. I love this house...there's something about it that is so charming! The lot looks big...cant wait to see the the finishing details!

  8. I’m glad that you’re putting everything to good use and maximizing what you have, especially those stones. Keep that up! With a little bit of fixing, they can be excellent garnishes to your overall layout (I personally like the way you shaped that one stone to use as a cap for the entry columns). Now that’s resourcefulness right there!

    Mike Mcmillen @ Dependable Lawn Care LLC


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