home about me our home

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Main Players In Our Backyard Plans


  Picking Out the Base Plants!

Yesterday was such a fun day for us. We got to go to the wholesale nursery with our landscaper and chose all of our plants.

Since I am use to being the one doing all the design and guiding my client it was a bit hard for me to let someone else do that for me. Going through this process I really did have to deal with my control issues. YES, I am admitting it, I have control issues!

Luckily my landscaper hit the nail on the head right out of the gate. During our first meeting after seeing the front of our home and coming into our home he already had a very good idea of the direction he thought would look good with our style of home and what he saw inside our home.

When we first started this process I had copious amounts of images for inspiration on my pinboard. You can see them here.

Jorge envisioned a more semi-formal yard with square planter boxes filled with boxwood and white iceberg roses. I on the other hand wanted curved lines and lush green plantings that varied in textures and colors in order to give our yard a cool and relaxing vibe.

Now that we have come full circle we are actually having a bit of both. To be honest I had never considered the iceberg roses, and yet we are surrounded with them in our community and right now they are blooming their little heads off.

We live in an area that is surrounded with grape vines, olive trees, Italian cypress and white iceberg roses.

Most of the homes here have a very California/tuscan vibe so these type of planting are perfect. We, however, have a home with siding, not stucco and it has a definite cottage feel to it.

Keeping all of this in mind, Gorge came up with a design plan, after talking to us at great lengths that we were delighted with. He gave us our curves and circles and also added a touch of what I will call a semi-formal look to our yard.

I am going to show you the over all plan, but keep in mind that the plantings will be tweaked as we lay them out in the actual yard.

Right now it is a bunch of circles and symbols, but trust me everything is covered in this plan. The plants, lights, irrigation system, it is all there.

Right now we are at the point that all the hardscape is almost all done. Here is a picture that my neighbor took for me from the back of her fence looking into our yard, so you can see where we are at in the process.

I think seeing this with the plan will give you all a better idea to the overall look. 

As you can see we chose to use reclaimed brick.(reclaimed brick from Stanford University) The reason I chose this look is I felt it goes along perfectly with our cottage style home. 

Most of the homes around here have pavers, or stamped concrete which to be honest goes perfectly with the style of the majority of homes here, but for this gal I wanted something that fit our cottage style.

Once I started seeing the brick work coming to completion I realized that Jorge was spot on with his first vision of planting and feel for the yard. It definitely has a more formal look to it.

In fact it reminds me of the courtyard gardens in Charleston. I can only dream that my yard would ever look as lush as the yards in Charleston, but it is definitely a look I would like to emulate.

So with our vision intact we went shopping for plants. If you look at the plan up above you will see two larger circles very faintly, these large circles represent trees.

This is where I was having the hardest time visualizing. I told Jorge that I felt I needed to choose the trees and the other taller elements first in order to choose the plants that would fill in. Luckily that is exactly how he works too.

I did so much research on trees and I had to keep in mind we also had restrictions from our HOA, and there is the whole water issue here in California.

I was feeling very uncertain about the tree selection. I started looking around our area for inspiration but was coming up with nothing. UNTIL, one day while at Home Depot in their parking lot I saw a tree that I really loved.

Loving the trees was important to me. I saw it again at my Grandson's baseball game. 

I had no idea what type of tree it was, but luckily Jorge knew exactly what it was. He agreed it would tie in nicely with the overall plan and was a suitable tree for what we wanted, and what the HOA would approve of.

I wanted a tree that had an umbrella like canopy for shade, a single trunk and that would have leaves that would move in the wind. 

At first I wanted an evergreen, but did not find anything I loved that was allowed. So this tree is deciduous and has glorious color in the fall months from what I have read.

We chose a Chinese Pistachio tree. You can read all about it here.  

We had already discussed which size to buy and we are getting a 36in boxed tree. The reason we are going for larger to start with is to be honest, we are 66 years old and we want to enjoy a larger tree sooner, than later. 

We are planting these for our enjoyment, not the next generation! Jorge being younger had to grin when we told him our reasoning.

Behind the two trees up against the fence we will be planting 5 bower vines. They stay green all year and have repeat bloomings throughout the year.

We chose the white with the pink center since we will be adding touches of pink in our color scheme of plants.

We also decided to us a lot of boxwood in our base plan. You can see it in the plans above next to the mow strip surrounding the yard. 

We chose to use Green gem for its deeper color of green than some of the other boxwood plants, and it also grows in a nice global shape naturally.

The next trees to be chosen were the trees along the side fence line. You can see them in the design above represented by 3 smaller circles. These will be in 24 in boxes.

After going over our design and the overall feel of the design we chose something that was more architectural than for a privacy screen.

This is a plant that I was not familiar with. As I said previously Italian cypress trees are seen all around our area. We had experience with these large trees before and to be honest we did not like them. They get huge and appear messy over time. Not the look we are going for.

However Jorge introduced us to the Tiny Tower Italian cypress. It will grow about half the size of the traditional Italian Cypress trees and has a very tight compact, neat growth. They are perfect for the look of our yard so we will have three on each side of our yard.

There will be two open spots between the three Tiny Towers and we are going to plant two citrus espaliered trees. One lime and one lemon on each side of the yard. 

I was so excited with this idea and it will not only be pretty but I will be able to use the lemons and limes.

We are very fortunate to have the climate that citrus will do beautifully in.

Now that the main base plants have been chosen it was so fun to choose the other plants that will fill in.  I will be showing you those in my next post!!

Planning a yard is very much like planning a room. It is wise to choose the main furniture pieces and then fill in with smaller pieces and then accessories. In this case it is larger surrounding plants, then medium plantings, low growing and ground covers.

Thank you to all of you that have expressed your excitement for us. It is still amazing to us both that we get to do this at this time in our lives. 

Living with gratitude and.......

"Enjoying the Process!"