December 30, 2020 0 Comments

Small Garden Landscaping That Lowers Your Bills

Pay Less Because of Small Garden Landscaping?

Yes, you can indeed reduce your maintenance and utility costs with small garden landscaping.  I’m not talking about saving money on a landscaping project, I’m talking about saving money with a landscape project.  The reasons are simple:

  1. A house shielded from the elements with the right plantings costs less to heat and cool.
  2. Soil correctly protected from the sun loses less moisture to the air.
  3. Shielding soil from weeds makes your yard easier and much less expensive to maintain.
  4. Grading your property the right way protects soil nutrients and halts runoff.
  5. The right plants in the right places stop erosion in its tracks.

image: small garden landscapingGet our Soil Tip Sheet,

and quickly see how

you can build soil for free!



Click the book to preview

this and other of our titles.



December 17, 2020 0 Comments

The Living Los Angeles Landscape

The Living Los Angeles Landscape: A Key To Enjoying L.A.

Do you currently reside somewhere with less than 284 days of sunshine?  Are you tired of having to supplement Vitamin D?  Don’t want to be S.A.D. anymore?  Come to L.A.!  In this mini-guide, I will help you understand the living Los Angeles landscape; this one thing will make for a rich, full experience.  L.A. gets a lot of attention for being the host of Hollywood, but I was never into that side of the place.  I went to the farmers market there once and scored some whole grain baguettes to die for, but I mostly stick to the foothills where Nature looms.

You don’t have to be a nature girl (or boy) though to benefit from understanding the living Los Angeles landscape.  First of all, what do I mean by that?

Living In Los Angeles Isn’t All About Hollywood

When you first come here, you are going to quickly see that traffic is the way it is because of sprawl but also due to the incredible complexity of the area’s landscape.  Hills dominate much of the region, and a number of different climate zones affect what grows here.  If you are thinking about buying a home in Los Angeles, Orange, or Culver City, where the winters are colder due to what landscape nerds like me call basins and all those hilltops I mentioned.  Cooler air settles in these spots. But it doesn’t usually freeze in these areas of the county, so you can grow bananas and other subtropical plants.  Protect them by planting under overhangs or trees.


image: pasadena water
November 30, 2020 0 Comments

Pasadena Water: Lower Your Bill!

Pasadena Water Bills Don’t Need to Be High

Pasadena water bills don’t need to be as high as residents might think.  Most people want a nice-looking front yard, which boosts perceived property value.  But you do not have to use a lot of water to have a green, beautiful landscape.  Permaculture allows any home owner to pay less in water bills by needing less water.  This doesn’t mean that your yard has to be filled with cactus or rocks.  You can have pretty flowering plants and trees.  In fact, your neighbors won’t believe you’re saving more on water than them.

One of our recent clients near Pasadena told us that they used to have the least attractive front yard on their block, but after working with us to lower their water bill, their neighbors told them their yard was now the most beautiful one on the block.


image: storm water solutions
November 23, 2020 0 Comments

Storm Water Solutions for Dry Urban Areas

Storm Water Solutions to Drought

I’ll bet you never think about storm water solutions when walking in your neighorhood.  You may have noticed your local landscape seems stressed out by drought.  A walk can tell you a lot about the outside factors affecting your property.  Working with permaculture is one of the most effective ways to restore soil, increase plant health, add shade, and attract beneficial wildlife.  You can also lower your water and power bills by choosing permaculture instead of traditional landscaping.  But did you know permaculture reverses drought?

You’ll notice when you walk through your neighborhood that some yards are green and lush while others look tired and dry.  Of course some families irrigate and others try to save on their water bill by letting their lawns go brown in the summer.  But there is a lot more happening in the majority of urban and suburban yards than might be obvious at first glance.  Most families don’t realize that they can lower their water bills with a few simple techniques.


image: permaculture food forest garden
November 17, 2020 0 Comments

Permaculture Food Forest Garden

Grow A Permaculture Food Forest Garden

With the global pandemic scare given renewed energy by the mainstream media and the year we all just had, the availability of food and water is of concern.  If you are image: permaculture food forest gardenwondering if store shelves will be sold out again like when all this started, growing a permaculture food forest garden assures you an abundance of low-maintenance, nutrient-rich, high water-content food.

Not only does a food forest feed you in times of food scarcity or emergency, but if done right it will heal the landscape around your home or in your neighborhood.  That means the land itself can recover from degradation.  Most landscapes are degraded.  We’ve grown used to the English chem lawn with a few shrubs or trees thrown in to flip a house.  But this leaves out essential ecosystem components, keeping your property under-performing.

Why depend on food delivered in trucks when you could grow your own?


image: Yard Maintenance Services
October 14, 2020 0 Comments

Destructive Maintenance

Can Yard Maintenance Services Cause Damage?

Yard maintenance services are destroying your yard and the wider landscape. People have begun to take notice and speak up about this hidden danger.
In case you missed it, the Pasadena Environmental Advisory Commission hosted a special forum last night on gas-powered blowers and other yard equipment.  I attended and was impressed with their consideration of destruction caused by typical mow-blow-and-go outfits.  I have a longstanding frustration with such companies, which are almost always uneducated and so do not know what they are doing to the plants and soil for which they are being paid to maintain.  Not only do they usually not have degrees or even basic training other than the use of gas-powered equipment, but the work they do is not licensed or regulated.
September 16, 2020 0 Comments

Hardscape Landscaping – What’s Included

Do You Do Hardscape Landscaping Too?

We often get this question.  Many homeowners are understandably unfamiliar with landscape industry terminology.  This is why they want to know if we do hardscape landscaping as well as planting design.  The answer is yes.

Our professional training includes a graduate degree in landscape architecture as well as the permaculture design certification.  This means we don’t just look at plants but create a full master plan that considers all elements.  Our plant choices are partially dependent upon the hardscape elements we design to solve our clients’ problems and give them the experiences they seek.

Hardscape Landscaping That Solves Problems

We combine our formal training in both permaculture design and landscape architecture to integrate plants and hardscape landscaping into one cohesive plan for a property.  From our permaculture knowledge base, we design each element to accomplish multiple goals.  This is referred to as stacking functions.  When each feature in the landscape does multiple things for the property and its owner, it reduces maintenance and cost.  The plants we specify also typically add multiple layers of value.  From shading smaller species to building soil structure to suppressing weeds to attracting mutually beneficial organisms, each species has several roles in the design.