Home for a Couple of Millennials

I got pushed by these kids to realize their landscape vision for a Mid-Century Modern remodel in Santa Barbara.  I grew up in Santa Barbara, the son of a Modern Movement Landscape Architect, during the Modern Movement, so I know it well, but of course my work as a Landscape Architect has gone through two or three design movements since then, so it was fun to go back to my father's period for this one.  

 Entry with 6' pivot gate of AZEK "Coastline" artificial wood

Entry with 6' pivot gate of AZEK "Coastline" artificial wood

We had fun finding the right material for the low fence in front.  AZEK is a new, all PVC, decking material, lighter than Trex and with no organic components to mildew.

 1-5" diameter galvanized pipe in concrete is the pivot post with wheels to support the weight and a "catch" consisting of a short "ramp" with pocket for a small wheel (no catch, just push to open)

1-5" diameter galvanized pipe in concrete is the pivot post with wheels to support the weight and a "catch" consisting of a short "ramp" with pocket for a small wheel (no catch, just push to open)

Artificial Turf pushes the "Modern" look as just another Architectural surface that can be used just like a lawn.  Though expensive to install, it needs no water, drains rainwater through the gravel base, and comes with a mower-free life span of 10 years or more.

 Modern artificial turf with pet-friendly filler - and pet - and Mahonia lomarifolia (a classic Mid Century accent plant)

Modern artificial turf with pet-friendly filler - and pet - and Mahonia lomarifolia (a classic Mid Century accent plant)

Three kinds of rock mulch means no loss of organic mulch over time (and leaf blowers).  1-1.2" buff colored crushed rock, 3/8" grey crushed rock and small Mexican Beach Stones

 Mexican Beach Stones and Sea Lavender   

Mexican Beach Stones and Sea Lavender

 

Made it just in time for a critical construction consultation ... got the slope set right and the pivot gate's post set.

 Very nice form work and concrete - thanks Jesus and crew! - Toro Canyon Landscapes

Very nice form work and concrete - thanks Jesus and crew! - Toro Canyon Landscapes

How fun is that?  Lots of interesting plant materials and a great reefy surf break 3 blocks away!

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California Native Plants in Commercial Landscapes

For the past ten years or so, we've been pushing California Natives into our landscapes.  I say "pushing" because the "look" of a Native Landscape is different, and commercial maintenance practices were generally not compatible with California Natives (too much water, fertilizer, blowing and shearing).  In the past, plants were typically selected to be evergreen, bloom as long as possible, be attractive year-round, and be able to survive highly variable irrigation regimes.  Because most of those plants will not survive low or very-low irrigation, especially in The Valley, we all began looking for a new palette.

California Native Plants, because they are adapted to our natural rainfall patterns, require little water, and actually thrive with very little.  After specifying Natives and watching them adapt to commercial planting practices and maintenance procedures, I've concluded that irrigation should seek to simply extend the wet season on each end rather than try to maintain soil moisture throughout the dry season.  I'll write more about this, but the idea is to start the Winter rainy season sooner (especially if normal rainfall is delayed), and extend that season on into the Spring (especially if rainfall ceases early).

 Pink Yarrow - a hybrid of California Native Achillea millefolium (which is yellow or white)

Pink Yarrow - a hybrid of California Native Achillea millefolium (which is yellow or white)