Landscape Design & California “Must Haves”

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Drought tolerance is fundamental to sustainable gardening in southern California and to planting design on our projects at Studio One Eleven. In discussing sustainable landscaping, many people feel that drought tolerant planting requires the exclusive use of native California plants. While native plants definitely have their place in landscape design, we are fortunate to live in a Mediterranean climate where plants from many parts of the world can grow and thrive.

In our planting designs, we often use a combination of native and “drought-adaptive” plants. Drought-adaptive means that the plants are indigenous to other parts of the world, but are from climates that are similar or identical to ours. This approach allows us to have a very large palette of plants to choose from and many different scales, forms, textures, and colors of plant material to work with – all while meeting water conservation goals. Some of our favorite plants come from all over the globe to make their home in our projects: Aloes from South Africa, Grevillea and Phormiums from Australia and New Zealand, Olive trees and Lavenders from the Mediterranean, Agave from Mexico and Central America, Ceanothus and grasses native to California, and trees and shrubs from the Desert Southwest and coastal Chile.

In an ongoing series of “must haves” for California gardens, our first featured plant is Agave Desmettiana (Dwarf Century Plant) – a native of Mexico. It is a sculptural plant for architectural plantings, adding year-round interest and exciting accents to the garden. While not as thorny as other Agaves, it can still be used for “defensive planting” as its rigid thorns are quite formidable.

Agave Desmettiana is featured at our 4th+Linden project.


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