Trees are the most transformative landscape element you can add to a property. Even though we are in drought conditions here in Southern California, and through much of the western U.S., continuing to plant trees is of utmost importance for a variety of reasons.
The most obvious reason is they give life to our planet. By converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, they support all living beings. While that alone is enough of a reason, there are many other ways trees are beneficial.
When deciding what landscape element to keep during drought, trees are at the top of the list. They add the most property value and visually can make any home or building look better. They provide shade which can make an outside area more enjoyable.Their roots help hold soil from running off.
Choosing the right trees is important too. Going with native varieties and ones from a Mediterranean climate, which is very similar to our climate, is key.
Deciding where to plant a tree should also be given careful consideration. Do not plant young trees too close to a structure. Allow for room for when it's full grown and also to minimize structural damage by winds or fire.
New trees will need more water at first to get their roots to grow deep, but once their roots are established, trees will need less water to continue thriving. A smart controlled drip irrigation system is the most efficient way to both save water and optimize the tree's chance for survival.
Proper trimming depending on what's best for the type of tree is important. (See The Right Time to Trim Trees). Also, root drenches can help yearly to make trees strong against diseases and pests.
Let us help you transform your landscape with trees! Our professionals are experts in all aspects of landscape, including new planning and installation of hardscapes and softscapes, installing new and updating old irrigation systems, backflow installation, and maintenance of both commercial and residential properties. Contact us today and get a free quote!
Updated: Aug 5
As drought conditions continue to increase in California, the push to get rid of lawns is also increasing. One great option to replace grass is using low water groundcovers. Groundcovers can offer a blanket of green using a fraction of the water that a lawn would need.
According to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's BeWaterWise.com, these 4 groundcovers are ideal for Southern California:
The ‘Emerald Carpet’ is an evergreen groundcover that grows to 1’ tall by 6’-8’ wide. It is favored by many landscapers as the manzanita of choice for inland situations. Emerald Carpet has dark green leaves and exhibits compact growth. This variety is relatively tolerant of adverse soil conditions.
This reliable shrub, typically used as a groundcover, can reach 1-2 feet tall but can spread up to 10 feet wide. It has gray green, finely divided leaves that are threadlike. Very aromatic when foliage is crushed. It does well in coastal areas with full sun. It does best with afternoon shade in warm, inland areas. This groundcover tolerates clay or sandy soil but needs well draining soil. Flowers are inconspicuous. This is a great plant for dry slopes.
‘Pigeon Point’ Coyote Bush is a compact, evergreen ground cover that grows 18”- 24” tall and 10’-12’ wide. Its leaves are green; it has white flowers that bloom in the fall but they are not overly dramatic. It is important to plant this ground cover at least 6’-8’ apart. Otherwise they will overgrow each other and begin to pile upwards. ‘Pigeon Point’ is tolerant of ocean spray and is deer resistant.
This ceanothus shrub variety has dark blue flower clusters that bloom profusely in the spring. This smaller growing selection grows to 3’ tall and wide. This plant tolerates coastal conditions but will also grow in inland, hot valleys as it does well in clay soil. This cultivar seems to bloom longer than other varieties. It does well in full sun but will tolerate dry shade also. Leaves are bright green and glossy.
If you're ready to change out your lawn for a low water groundcover, we can help! Many water districts are offering rebates for lawn removal and updating irrigation, we can help with that too! Contact us today and see what we can do for your commercial or residential property!
The term Xeriscape comes from the Greek word 'xeros' which means 'dry' combined with 'scape' meaning 'dry landscape' but really it means landscaping with plants that need minimal water. Since about 70 percent of the water consumed by an average single-family home is used outdoors, the best place to start conserving water is in your garden. However, xeriscaping with plants that do not need a lot of water does not mean your garden has to look desolate!
Southwestern states have been xeriscaping the longest due to the fact that they have dry climates and it makes sense to not fight mother nature by growing high maintenance gardens and lawns. But with water becoming a diminishing resource everywhere, other states throughout the U.S. are now xeriscaping too.
Luckily, in Southern California, we have many drought resistant native plants and a climate that allows us to use low water plants from other similar dry climates like Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, and Mediterranean areas. Many of these plants are lush and beautiful and visually completely different than a typical southwest garden of cacti and rocks. There are many wonderful options, and we live in the perfect place for xeriscaping!
Water is still necessary with xeriscapes, especially when plants are new. However they become more drought resistant once established. Many drought tolerant native plants in the wild naturally have deep roots as part of their survival. New, nursery bought plants in pots will take a couple years at minimum to achieve the same deeper root systems as their counterparts in the wild.
Xeriscapes work well with low-pressure systems that deliver water right to the roots of the plants but don't go everywhere. A sub-surface water source not only feeds the roots without wasting it on the surface where it can evaporate, it encourages the roots to grow deeper beyond the root ball which ultimately makes it hardier and more drought resistant in the future. Once roots are established, they will require even less supplemental water.
Another important component to xeriscaping is using a ground cover like gravel or mulch. Mulch can be made from organic materials including leaves, grass clippings, straw, shredded bark, sawdust, wood chips, and cardboard. There is also rubber mulch made from recycled tires which does not decompose quickly. Ground cover does a multiple of jobs when it comes to xeriscaping. Most importantly, it helps keep the moisture in the soil and keeps the ground cooler in the summer. It also keeps weeds from competing with plants for water and nutrients.
Xeriscapes are most stunning when designed with a combination of softscapes and hardscapes. Softscape refers to trees, bushes, plants, ground cover, and the living aspects of the garden. Hardscape is the addition of pathways, planters, and outdoor living areas that can make your garden more inviting, accessible, and visually interesting. Hardscapes also mean less softscapes, and less water. The key is to design a layout that is a balance of the two so that your garden complements your home and is low maintenance; saving you water and money!
There are rebates being offered in Southern California to replace lawns we can help you through that process. We are also certified experts installing smart-water irrigation systems that are efficient and cost effective and are rebate worthy too!
Our team at Pacific Vista Landscape Services are experts when it comes to xeriscaping and knowing the vast variety of drought resistant plant options. We can work with you to design incredible soft and hardscapes to enhance your property which not only look great but will save you money too. Having a beautiful, low maintenance garden makes sense now and in the future!