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Before Frontyard

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Drought tolerant plants replace lawn and old shrubs.

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Dead lawn removed. Replaced with interesting plants.

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Sometimes it only takes a more updated plant palette and paying attention to the details to create beautiful curb appeal. The footprint of this home stayed put. Same steps. Same planting spaces. Even the same Pigmy palm. The design included a planting plan, notice the modern house numbers (thank you Lowes), mailbox, and updated light fixtures. Don't doubt the small things like house numbers and mailboxes to update the look of your home.

Plant design wise, it was important to off set the many warm tones of the roof and house with grays, blues and plum colored plant choices. These work really well with oranges and golds. The gray and blues show in the Agave attenuata, Festuca 'Elijah Blue' and Senecio. The plum of Agonis 'After Dark', Aeonium 'Zwartkop' and Coprosma 'Karo's Red' nicely contrast with the grays and golds. All combined with the shrubby Metrosideroides 'Tahiti' with orange flowers and Euphorbia 'Helena's Blush' with charchruse, will grow into a dynamic scene.

Not only is this a beautiful update, but the plant choices also fall under the heading of drought tolerant. A win-win.

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Drought tolerant planting design for entry.

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It doesn't matter if you get home late from work. It is easy to grab a beer, click on the fire-pit and kickback. The landscape lights are already on, highlighting the geometric lines and soft plantings. Take in the scents of the newly planted fruit trees. And that is the bare minimum.

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This Orange County yard had great bones, but was neglected. The wish list included a solid-roof patio cover, large barbeque space, fire-pit, update existing retaining wall, planting plan with drought tolerant plants, new irrigation and lighting.

The patio cover was engineered to hold a tile roof and seamlessly come off the house. The barbeque is large enough to sit around. The poured concrete counter is a modern element.

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Even though this is a large backyard, the space for the fire-pit was limited. By using a fire-bowl with a small diameter, the space issue was solved and the finish is classy. www.korneygaydesign.com

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Part of the old retaining wall was taken out to open up the pool patio. But since we needed to plant around the pool, we built-up that portion of the wall. We added steps up to the raised planting area where the homeowner will keep a vegetable garden among the new fruit trees. The wall is finished with stucco and capped to finish it.

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The informing line, which repeats itself throughout, is the back property line. It is an odd angle that we replicated throughout the landscape design. It influenced the edge of the patio and shape of the planting beds. Geometric angles. The planting designs in these shapes are evenly spaced and modern. The plants around most of the perimeter are loose and colorful. Riots of color with drought tolernt plants will grow in.

Installation contractor: QS Landscape (lic #956158)

After shots photographer: Susan Manzur Photography (www.susanmanzurphotography.com)

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Three years was long enough. The contemporary house, with its clean lines and monochromatic theme, was finished...yet...the gardens were bare.

Low maintenance. Drought tolerant. Succulents, not 'tightly' planted. Rocks. Black, grey, and white patterns.

When 'sinking-in' to this design, it was artist Piet Mondrian and his gift of simplifying the subjects of his paintings down to the most basic vertical and horizontal elements that inspired me.

The long raised planter was divided with lines to create shapes. Asymmetrically balanced. Each shape holds one type of plant, evenly, yet widely separated. Each shape holds one of the three colors of rock. A methodical modern garden design.

The front design, kept the same thought, yet the shapes were not clean rectangles. Still, by pulling from the existing lines of the driveway, we continued the element of balanced symetry.

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Candy and Eric

Testimonial of backyard makeover with Candy and Eric. Anaheim project where half the lawn was removed and planted with drought tolerant plants, pebble pathways and tea house.

Last week we filmed this testimonial, with Candy and Erik, about their backyard makeover. It's the only project I've ever worked on which includes a black panther and Tea House! I enjoyed every bit of it. The uniqueness. The loose lines. Re-imagining the old fountain into a 'fountain' dripping with succulents. The cool red chairs.

Our inspiration started with those candy red chars paired with aqua blue plants. Vintage style to work with their 1950's historical house. Nothing overdone. We removed half the lawn to make room for more drought tolerant plants. Texture. Movement. The Tea House floats on the 'water' of blue Senecio repens. Smooth gravel pathways.

In time, the Tea House will be draped with branches of Acacia cognaata and the Cericis 'Forest Pansy' will block the neighbors roofs.

And grasses will grow tall enough for Junior, the cat, to hide.

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The day after the planting was done.

Don’t get me wrong, this project has been in the works for a long time, but a few days ago, the design was installed. This client did all the work themselves: tear-out, grading, irrigation, soil amendment and planting. He did such a quality job, I told him he could start his own landscape business!

When we first started talking, I just advised them on the walkway. It needed to be as close to 5′ wide as possible (wide enough for two people to walk-up hand in hand) and to leave enough room on the driveway side to plant. Later we moved onto plants and topography. He wanted no turf grass and she wanted flowers.

Ornamental grasses fill a sunken dry stream; a small berm is planted with a lavender crepe myrtle multi-trunk tree; C...

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…we were married. My husband Scot and I were married at the quaint St. Bartholomew’s Church in Belmont Shore by a visiting Irish priest with a heavy brogue; I wore my mom’s wedding dress; my dad sang; the church was full with friends and family and JOY. We honeymooned in romantic Italy.

As I was looking for a picture to add to this post, I found all sorts of memories. At my bridal shower, we had asked for a ‘Recipe for a Happy Marriage’. One of my friend’s mother, whose husband is now afflicted with Alzheimer’s, wrote,“Always be thankful to God for each other”; Scot’s grandmother, who passed away a few years back underlined, “..give a large amount of telling it like it i...

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Cool Designs For Landscapes

Fountain Valley, CA

(714) 624-4088

Katie@cooldesignsforlandscapes.com