One Year Later
This garden design & restoration was created for a client who wanted to provide lizard habitat and increase plant diversity in his family's garden where visitors can learn about the plants while viewing insects & animals that thrive in the garden. We created a series of lizard 'beaches' made from loads of sand and existing recycled concrete and stones that were collected from around the property. Here, we've incorporated many types of Salvia, Lavender, Achillea, Buckwheat and other Mediterranean plants to create a low water, natural escape for man, animal & insect alike. A pump-free water feature that runs with the irrigation was made from on-site recycled concrete to provide a water source for the wildlife. This garden has become a haven for local neighborhood garden watchers.
Creating lizard habitat was an interesting learning experience. The general formula involves sand & shelter, with a readily available water supply. In less than one year we've seen a remarkable increase in the lizard population, so much so that the owner remarks he often finds them inside the house and neighborhood kids & cats chasing after them. Because lizards eat primarily insects & spiders, we knew that active soil life would be a priority which sets the stage for effective food chain dynamics. In every garden, insect life functions as a living kind of barometer, providing ample indication of soil & ecological health. In this garden, there is no lack of insect or animal activity.
Another priority was incorporating plants which attract & feed hummingbirds. We have found that the Salvias and Penstemons are the most frequently visited.
Mediterranean Plants & CA-Natives
Of course this is a low water garden highlighting a virtual encyclopedic variety of Mediterranean & California native plants which are readily adapted to our local weather patterns & micro climates. These plants are tough, beautiful, take well in poor soils and require a minimum of care. As an added bonus, many of these same selections provide the food, brush & cover that birds, bees & insects rely on for regular functioning.
To provide a subtle focal point and to highlight the usage of recycled materials, we created a custom water feature using only recycled concrete collected on site, left over from previous construction. This water feature utilizes the drip irrigation for water delivery and requires no pump or power source. This small feature also functions ecologically in providing an on site water source for animal and insect life.
Due to a recent and rather major transplanting of 16 roses, the side strip naturalized with Alyssum, which can become invasive if not monitored. As it continues to grow and fill in as an aggressive and successful ground cover we keep careful watch and remove it from the main garden areas at first sight.
All in all the garden's first year has shown an incredibly productive period of growth & development. We feel that we have achieved the desired goals of creating a fun, beautiful setting for birds, insects, lizards & humans.