2020 has been a rough year for many things - but arguably one area it hasn't been challenging for is my garden. Quarantine has a way of drawing me out into the garden to tend to my beds as a welcome distraction from the onslaught of monotony that has become existence dealing with Covid-19.
I mean - there is only so much Netflix I am up to consume (given that threshold seems to keep rising as the months pass on....)
After what seemed days of endless groundhog days of routine - wake, (coffee) work, walk (eat) work more, walk more (eat) - sleep - I decided to break up the monotony and fit some gardening in.
NOTE: I feel blessed to be working, given the environment. I count that blessing each day.
My garden - after thriving for years, had fallen into the stage of - DUDE - I need help!! Why don't you love me anymore?!
So the stage was set - scene ready to be revised - new actors willing and able to play their part - the question at hand - what to do?
Lush and lovely - that is what the garden was previous to the attention starving years that passed after she did. But plants - just like haircuts - will go bad unless you trim the tips, and condition and feed their roots. And that is just what my garden had done.....turned into a god awful hair cut in need of some serious attention!
So I decided to re-imagine the garden bed space in our front yard - but wanted to achieve the following three objectives:
1) Low Water Use - I live in Los Angeles - it is basically a desert by the sea (though with all the lawn and water guzzling plants pretending to be an oasis around here you would never know) So I need to create the aura of lush - but don't want to use the water it takes to sustain it. 2) Low Maintenance - I don't have a ton of time to be in the garden tending to needy plants. I want them to be somewhat self sufficient and thrive without having to find the "perfect" conditions.
3) Lush & Lovely - This is a must as the beds that preceded it had set a standard for our home that was not to be cheaped out. There is one thing that I will NOT do - EVER - and that is to cheap out on legacy. Where we come from is important - and the garden deserved nothing less than lush and lovely.
There is a super simple answer to addressing these three things IMO - SUCCULENTS!!
For starters - succulents are super low water use - most only needing a bit of water to get by once they are established - so check the box on Low Water Use.
Also - succulents don't tend to need a ton of attention. Succulents are happy to do their thing - just hang out and grow - most aren't overly sensitive (though you will find some that make you work more than others) but for the most part - they survive and thrive with some water and decent draining soil.
So with that I went to my local nursery and bought whatever I liked that looked good. Then kept at it until it looked right.
The crux of meeting the objective was Lush and Lovely. Done correct - everything flows and just looks AWESOME - done incorrect - sparse, deserted, pining for more - just basically LAME.
Here is what I learned. The key to a lush succulent garden is spacing. Unlike general population in
2020 - social distancing is not promoted in the world of succulents. The tighter the configuration, the better the result IMO. Get a good palette of plants (it is super hard to screw up if you just have enough good stuff to work with) and push things together - with the goal of not seeing a whole lot of dirt in the end.
NOTE: You have to leave some space for things to grow in - but not too much. This is the trick. Once you find your groove - it is a whole lot of beautiful lush and lovely result.
So if you are honing in your garden - looking to create a low water use, low maintenance, lush and lovely result - try succulents. They are fun and pretty hard to screw up if you just kind of get in there and go for it!
If you have questions or comments - send them - I'd love to hear from you and will share what I can - if anything - just mere enthusiasm.
Happy 4th of July Weekend. Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable time with friends and family.
Outdoor Life Design + Build - We create unique and intimate outdoor spaces, and are grateful to still open, actively working and are committed to taking precautions to ensure that continue to do so and are safe for our crews, clients and company.
We, like you, have certainly learned this year - the saying is true - There is no place like home.
If you need help re-imagining your outdoor living space - let us know - we are here to help.
The sunken fire pit in the pic above is from a recently completed project in the Residences at Rolling Hills Country Club.