My husband has accused me of cheating on him… with our yards. He says I spend all kinds of time lavishing them with attention and I get all excited when presented with a fresh bloom. In another life I will be a landscape designer. There are a lot of similarities to graphic design but with an added layer of complexity. You have to consider seasons, growth and whether the damn dog will tear it up.

A friend of mine was recently visiting from Southern California and asked if I would come down and help re-design his yard. Before you start thinking, “oh sure he wanted you to come and work on his… yard,” I’d like to clarify that Peleg is my gay boyfriend so of course everything about this project was super fun and totally fabulous. I do not cheat on my husband with other people’s yards. Just ours.

Great bones but very linear and in need of some color.

I asked Peleg to send me the dimensions of all of the planters, get everything cleaned out. No weeds, rocks, old roots etc. and have a drip system installed before I arrived so that we could get it all done in two days.

I also sent a list of questions about how he intended to use the space and how it should feel when he walked outside. Then I gave him the task of going for a walk in his hood and taking pictures of plants that he liked. This is a great way to figure out what will grow successfully in your own yard.

We went with a succulent garden, perfect for this dramatic area.

We went with a succulent garden, perfect for this dramatic area.

We found plants in varying heights, textures and colors. When you’re doing a planter, you want to put tall stuff in the back so you can see all of the different plants.

A huge part of landscaping is the hardscape. That’s the patio, gravel, trim around the planters. We had a beautiful brick patio to start with but since we were planting succulents we would need ground cover in between plants. We chose a light gray/tan gravel to contrast with the brick and plants.

Gravel keeps the weeds out and adds interest.

Gravel keeps the weeds out and adds interest.

We had two hard-working helpers so I placed the plants where I wanted them to go and the guys got to work putting them in the ground.

We picked an amazing small tree as a focal point and anchor in the corner.

We picked an amazing small tree as a focal point and anchor in the corner.

Peleg had a nice outdoor sectional¬†but didn’t like the way it fit on the patio. We pulled the pieces apart for flexibility and added a small beverage table. We created a conversation area that focused on the view. The patio is large and Peleg likes to entertain a crowd so we also purchased two gray adirondack chairs and created a second seating area, also with an incredible view.

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Conversation area with an amazing view. Not a bad napping spot either.

Adding two chairs creates another view opportunity and they can be easily moved around.

Adding two chairs creates another view area and they can be moved around.

We added some potted plants to other areas so that no matter where you look, you see something organic and colorful. Peleg has another fabulous patio that we decided to use as the outdoor dining area.

Dining area before.

Dining area before.

After.

After.

Hanging baskets with more succulents to tie the areas together.

Hanging baskets with more succulents to tie the areas together.

 

 

 

These hanging baskets added interest to the yard and also draw the eye away from the neighbors fence. We planted night blooming jasmine in this area so it would smell like heaven during evening entertaining and climb up the wrought iron fence so that eventually it will be a wall of fragrant flowers with year round greenery.

The total cost for this project was a little under $3k for plants, dirt/gravel, lighting, labor and furnishings. We saved $ by using as much of what was already available as we could and buying some of the more exotic plants at a fancy pants nursery where celebs shop and buying the rest at Home Depot.

We decided to name some of the plants, I figured that would inspire Peleg to nurture them. Naturally, the focal point plant was named after me. Duh. And the phallic cactus was named after our friend Steve.

Now Peleg is ready for me to go back and tackle the front yard. Oy.