XERISCAPE

La Canada Flintridge, CA

Lawns fed by sprinklers were never a sustainable proposition in Southern California.

Inspired by the desert southwest, we set about finding an alternative for our home in the San Gabriel Valley Foothill Community of La Canada Flintridge. The project began in 1994 and has been a work in progress ever since.

Once established certain species of cacti never require watering, however, in most cases occasional nocturnal watering helps to maintain a healthy appearance during the hotter summer months. The rapid percolation characteristic of the granular local decomposed granite soil provides perfect drainage conditions for cacti and succulents. The southerly oriented slope, high elevation and climatic conditions have also factored in to our drought tolerant plant selections.

Paved terraces are set in a largely pervious hardscape interspersed with rock and specimen planted islands, allowing natural percolation to the water table rather than draining rainwater to the street. In this climate, the indoor /outdoor lifestyle is a year round reality. However, in the heat of the summer, the outdoors is only fully enjoyable if there are generous shaded areas available to provide respite from the sun.  In this case, we set a free standing steel structure with retractable translucent fabric shades into the terraces created in the natural slope to the north, creating enclosure for the central court.