DIG THIS! Green Musings from GBG inc.

Landscape Design In San Luis Obispo County – Why??

Landscaping As Design

It can come as a surprise to clients that cultivated landscapes require a drafted plan. Isn’t a garden just some dirt and plants?? Maybe throw in some landscape rock (that’s a thing, right?). Why the extra time, why the holdup? This is a question I enjoy clarifying because anything that helps you understand our process can ease the anxiety around it.

First And Foremost, The Design Process Is About Your Needs.

My co-designer and I visit your site to understand important elements like microclimate, soil type, slope or grade, and so on. But we also want to know how you’d like to use your future garden and what features you envision. We combine the nitty gritty  with the fanciful to create an initial Concept Plan and we walk you through the placement of patio, pavers, plants, etc. At this point, you take the time to mull over the project for as long as you want before we finalize it. With your feedback we make adjustments and create the Final Plan. A garden design is not a rush job; the goal is to make sure you feel confident about the layout before we move along to install.

A Plan Is Also About Our Needs

A design is as much to clarify things for you as it is a game plan for our install team. We’re often creating an entirely new outdoor environment with walls, fences, patios, and so forth — more than just planting a few plants. A design articulates all the necessary materials and pinpointed locations of a layered installation project. A design keeps everyone on the same page.

A Plan Helps Us Stay On Budget

Our design is scaled so we can accurately budget the cost. We want to know as near to exactly as possible how much mulch, soil, irrigation parts, etc, we need. I don’t like budget surprises during a project, so I want you to know the full costs of everything broken down before we start. If you want to make a change during the design or install process, then we can do that, and we can track changes because we have a plan to reference.
 There are always going to be unknowns and decisions to be made on the fly, but with more preparation than less we can move as seamlessly as possible from site evaluation to design to installation and enjoyment!
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Water Conservation Sweeping The Nation!

…Starting with our own KCBX!

Many thanks to Mike Bush of the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden who, during his January 25th, 2012, interview on KCBX, mentioned a garden we completed with water conservation champion Mary Wilhelm. We were happy to be able to feature Mary’s garden in an article with the Tolosa Press, highlighting that due to her efforts to reduce her water usage, she hadn’t watered her garden at all during 2011. Take a listen to the SLOBG’s Executive Director as he discusses upcoming SLOBG events, signature qualities of Mediterranean climates, and the future of our inspiring local garden:

Mike Bush SLO Botanical Garden KCBX Interview 

 

 

 

 

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Princely Protea for our Central Coast

Not all magic is from the world of Harry Potter!

With the highly anticipated release of the final Harry Potter movie, magic is in the air! This month we’re featuring a little bit of magic whose plant ancestry goes back 300 million years to the family of Proteaceae. Sounds like Poseidon’s cousin, right? It very well could be–this exotic plant line has its origins in the coastal mountain ranges of South Africa,one of the earth’s five unique Mediterranean climates. As diverse and varied as the continent they originate from, Protea will add a magical touch to your garden and your home. Protea enjoy wet-dry cycles making them ideal for our central coast climate. With their unique shapes, their flowers add beauty and distinction to Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Cambria landscapes, and cut flower arrangements as well. When the blooms in your vase reach the end of their colorful life, simply empty the water into your garden and tuck them back into the vase. You’ll end up with lovely intricate sculptures of dried material that will make unusual and attractive decorations to adorn your home. An amazing magic trick you can perform without the need for a trip to Ollivander’s Wand Shop in Diagon Alley!

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Kangaroo Paws Hopping Into Central Coast Landscapes

While you’re still going to have to visit the zoo to see the marsupials, you may have noticed these stunning plants adding vibrancy to local gardens. These flowering plants have long, flattened leaves with striking tubular flowers coated with dense, fuzzy hairs. The claw-like paw formation of the flowers gives this garden gem gets its name. Although they have no fragrance, bright crimson, magenta, pink, and yellow flowers naturally attract birds and other curious pollinators. Kangaroo Paws love open and sunny places in the garden, making them ideal for life on our Central Coast. These plants need excellent drainage and thrive with little water. Kangaroo Paws offer your garden the beauty of Western Australia, without the need for a passport!

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Lawn: Use It Or Lose It!

What a treat it was for those lucky enough to hear the esteemed David Fross (plant guru and part owner at Native Sons Nursery) talk recently at the SLO Botanical Gardens. His talk touched on conservation in a myriad of ways, and the one that stuck with me was about water–do you know where it comes from? I’m not talking “from the hose” or “from the tap” here, but back at the source, the Colorado River. This 1,450 mile-long lifeline sustains more than 30 million souls and 3.5 million acres of farmland in seven states, 34 tribal nations and Mexico. Unsurprisingly, it’s in decline. What can we do? Well, for starters, just knowing that when we water anything, we’re draining this mighty river is enough to get you thinking.
Also, that green water-gulping lawn is certainly an area where we can make improvements. Fross talked a lot about the pros and cons of lawn, but his main point wasn’t to exterminate all flat green spaces. Instead, he challenged us to think about how they’re used. What about the public park where Scouts meet and kids play baseball all summer? Water those and keep them soft and friendly! What about the patches of grass whose only foot traffic is the lone landscaper? These are wasted space. Rip ‘em out and re-purpose the land into something beautiful for people to visit. Not only is this be good for our wallet, but also for the entire marine ecosystem of the Colorado River. Sound radical? Maybe so. But endlessly watering something that gets no use could be considered kinda nutty.
A recent post of ours wrote about Fross’s book, “Reimagining the California Lawn,” enumerating changes you, yourself, can make to your property to make it water-wise and lush. Check out your space and see if you’re using your garden to its fullest potential for enjoyment, food production, and conservation of our precious resources.

(Colorado River facts found here.)

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