When I am driving about town, I tend to look at the landscapes that I pass by.  Usually, I tend to see some “landscape no-no’s”, which I like to share with you now and then.

But, I also take pictures of what I like to call “landscape do’s”.  I realized the other day, that I tend to share with you bad examples of landscapes much more then the good ones, so here are a few that I saw the past couple of weeks…

Gold Lantana

I love Gold Lantana and how it flowers non-stop spring through fall.  When planted next to boulders, you get a great contrast in textures.

What is even better about this arrangement, is how easy Lantana is to grow.  Unlike many tropical climates, Lantana is not invasive in arid climates.  Just water it regularly and prune it back hard in spring (6″ high), after the last frost.  Periodically prune it back every 2 – 3 months, stopping pruning 3 months before the first frost date in your area.  

Scottsdale, Arizona

Sometimes, I see great examples of desert trees that are properly pruned.

This Texas Ebony (Ebanopsis ebano formerly Pithecellobium flexicaule) is beautiful tree that is prized for its dark green foliage that is evergreen.

It does have thorns and gets seedpods, but it highly prized by those who live in the Southwest.

Scottsdale, Arizona

This nicely designed landscape was located next door to a house where I was visiting a client.

I like how the columnar cacti flank the entry on either side.  Totem Pole (Lophocereus schotti ‘Monstrosus’) is on the left and has the bonus that it is thornless.  Another favorite of mine, Mexican Fence Post (Pachycereus marginatus), which is one of the few cacti that I have in my own garden.

The yellows of the Golden Barrel (Echinocactus grusonii)with their rounded shapes contrast nicely with the spiky fans of Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri).

**Another bonus about this landscape is that it is extremely low-maintenance.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

While stopped at an intersection in Scottsdale, Arizona, I noticed this distinctive landscaped area with contrasting spokes of a wheel fanning out from the sign.

Different sizes of gravel are often used to add interest to the landscape by the contrasts in size.

Agave and Aloe vera make up the plantings in the lighter colored spokes while Golden Barrel are used in the darker rip rap.

Well, these are just a small sampling of the “landscape do’s” that I have seen lately.

I hope you enjoyed seeing them and maybe will be inspired to replicate a couple of these plantings in your own landscape.

Golden Barrel Cacti โ€“ So Many Uses

This past week, I have been sharing with you my latest landscape project that is located next to a golf course.

I shared with you the tree and shrubs that I had chosen and not it’s time to show you what perennials and succulents that will be going in.

*All the following perennials are drought tolerant and require full sun with well-drained soil.

Perennials and Succulents

Perennials and Succulents

Damianita(Chrysactinia mexicana) is a fabulous flowering ground cover.

It thrives in locations with hot, reflected heat and handles cold temperatures (down to 0 degrees F) just as well.

In spring and again in fall, masses of bright yellow flowers cover this low-growing perennial.  When not in bloom, it has dark green needle-like foliage.

Newly planted landscape with Purple Trailing Lantana, Parry's Penstemon, Desert Spoon, Palo Blanco trees and Damianita

Newly planted landscape with Purple Trailing Lantana, Parry’s Penstemon, Desert Spoon, Palo Blanco trees and Damianita.

I have used Damianita in other landscapes that I have designed in the past (shown above), with great results.

*The trick to keeping Damianita looking great is to shear it back in late spring.

Perennials and Succulents

Perennials and Succulents

Firecracker Penstemon(Penstemon eatoni) is my favorite flowering perennial.  The one pictured above, is in my own garden.

I am often asked about this brilliantly colored plant in spring when it is in bloom.

One of the reasons that I love this Penstemon is that is begins flowering in winter, in zone 9b and continues on into spring.  In cooler zones, it begins flowering in spring and lasts into summer.  It handles cold temperatures easily and is hardy to zone 5.

Hummingbirds find the flowers irresistible.  To prolong bloom, prune off the flowering stalks once the flowers begin to fade and you will be rewarded with another flush of bloom.

Perennials and Succulents

Perennials and Succulents

Angelita Daisies(Tetraneuris acaulis formerly, Hymenoxys acaulis) are what you could call one of my ‘signature’ plants, because I use them often, like the landscape I designed, above.

I find them invaluable in the landscape because they flower off and on throughout the year, with the heaviest bloom occurring in spring.

Perennials and Succulents

They easily handle full sun and reflected heat and look great in pots.  I like to plant them next to boulders in groups of 3 or 5 for best effect.   Cold temperatures are no problem either because they are hardy to zone 5.

Maintenance is easy – simply shear the flowers every 8 weeks or so.

Now, so far I have shown you the trees, shrubs and perennials planned for this area.  But, I want to add succulent plants, which are also used as accent plants.  These types of plants add texture to the landscape because their unique shapes contrast well with the softer, more rounded shapes of the shrubs and perennials.

Perennials and Succulents

Weber’s Agave(Agave weberi) is a large agave that can grow 5 to 6 ft. high and up to 8 ft. wide.

In large landscape areas, I don’t want to use small succulents because it will be hard to see them unless you mass a lot of them together.  My budget won’t allow for that with this project.

I love how this large agave can stand up on its own.  I like to plant flowering ground covers underneath them.

Plant in full sun or light shade.  Weber’s Agave is hardy to zone 7.  *Agave need supplemental water in our climate to look their best.  I recommend watering twice a month in summer and once a month in spring and fall.  

Purple Prickly Pear

You can’t get much more unique in shape and coloring then Purple Prickly Pear(Opuntia santa-rita).

I love the gray pads with shades of purple.

The purple color deepens in cold temperatures or in times of drought.  

Purple Prickly Pear

In spring, yellow flowers cover this beautiful cactus.

Hardy to zone 8, plant in full sun and well-drained soil.

**If you notice white cottony masses on your prickly pear, simply spray it off with a hose.  They are caused by an insect.

Okay, are you ready for my last plant selection for this new project?

Red Yucca(Hesperaloe parviflora)

It is hard to find a succulent that works harder then Red Yucca(Hesperaloe parviflora).  Despite their common name, they aren’t a yucca.

The lower, succulent leaves resemble ornamental grasses.  In spring coral-colored flowers are borne above the grass-like foliage.

Perennials and Succulents

Hardy to zone 7, Red Yucca thrives in full sun.  While drought-tolerant, they do best with supplemental water.

Maintenance is easy – just remove the flowering stalks as they begin to fade.

*There is a common mistake that landscapers often make with this succulent plant.  To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, check out my previous post, “Do This NOT That”.

The last element for my newest project isn’t a plant at all, but it adds height and texture to the landscape without requiring any water or pruning…

Boulders

Boulders!

I will use boulders interspersed throughout this flat area to add height.  The boulders will have either a succulent and/or flowering perennials planted next to them.

Well, I must say that I am excited to get started on this project.  We will wait until this fall for the planting.

I’ll be sure to take you all along as it progresses.

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7 days until my daughter, Rachele, comes home from the Navy!!!  

In my last post “A Long Forgotten Area Ready for Transformation”, I told you that I would share what plants I was going to have put in this neglected area.

The plants I chose are based on the following:

– I have grown them myself in either my home garden and/or in landscapes I have managed.

– They are relatively low-maintenance.

– Drought-tolerant.

– The plant palette will also ensure year round color, with at least one or more plants being in bloom at a given time.

So are you ready to see what I chose?

Let’s start with the trees…

The area has two large Foothills Palo Verde trees along with a Wolfberry tree, so I chose one other type of tree to add.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is one of my favorite desert trees.  It is not a true willow, but is named for the fact that its leaves are willow-shaped.

Colorful flowers appear throughout the summer that add a vibrant punch of color to the landscape.

Hardy to zone 6, Desert Willow requires well-drained soil and full sun or filtered shade.

For more information on Desert Willow along with the different varieties available, check out my Houzz article about this lovely tree.

Now for the shrubs…

Valentine Bush

Valentine Bush (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) is my favorite shrub of all time. I will never forget the day when I was first introduced to this red-flowering shrub, by Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.  It was 1999 and I was a horticulturist fresh out of college.

I was given 2 Valentine shrubs from Mountain States to plant in the landscape area I managed.  Ever since then, I have been hooked.

Trees and Shrubs

Red flowers appear on this shrub, beginning in January and lasting until April.  If you haven’t noticed it before, there isn’t much blooming in winter, which is one of the reasons I love Valentine.

The foliage is evergreen and Valentine are hardy to zone 8.  Better yet, they only need to be pruned once a year – in spring after flowering.

Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.

For more information about Valentine, check out my post about this great plant.

Baja Ruellia

My second choice for shrubs is Baja Ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis).

Now, this isn’t its rather invasive cousin Ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana), pictured below…

Trees and Shrubs

Baja Ruellia is what I like to think of as a smaller version of Texas Sage species (Leucophyllum sp).  It doesn’t get as large and has a longer flowering season then Leucophyllum.

Trees and Shrubs

The flowers of Baja Ruellia are tubular and appear spring through fall, with the heaviest bloom occurring in spring.

The foliage is light green and rarely suffers frost damage in our zone 9b climate.  Hardy to zone 9, Baja Ruellia should be planted in full sun and well-drained soil.

Silvery Cassia

The third shrub for this area will be Silvery Cassia (Senna phyllodenia).  This Australian native does very well in arid landscapes.

The silvery foliage will provide contrast to the darker greens present in the landscape.  Evergreen to 20 degrees, this shrub flourishes in zone 9 landscapes.

Yellow flowers appear in late winter and into spring.  Pruning is needed after flowering, to remove seed pods in managed landscapes.

Like the other shrubs, Silvery Cassia enjoys full sun and well-drained soil.

Autumn Sage

The smallest shrub for this area will be Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii).  This plant is hard to zone 7, so remains evergreen during winter here.

Flowers appear fall through spring in the low desert.  The most common colors are red or pink, although there are other colors such as white, lavender and peach. 

I like to use Autumn Sage around trees like Palo Verde, where the filtered shade shelters it from the intense summer sun.  I first saw them planted around a tree at the Desert Botanical Garden and I really liked the way it looked, so I have repeated this design in many of my landscapes.

The Autumn Sage above, was planted by me around a Foothills Palo Verde about 12 years ago and they are still going strong.

I still have perennials and accent plants to show you that I have included in the design and I’ll share them with you next time.

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Life around our household has been busy lately….

School is back in session (for which I am extremely grateful for ๐Ÿ˜‰

My son Kai, has ditched his wheelchair for a walker and will soon be able to walk without it.

AND

My daughter, will soon come home after leaving 5 months ago for the Navy.  She is graduating from her Equipment Operator School next week and will be an official ‘SeaBee’.  She will be on leave for 2 weeks before she reports for combat training in Mississippi, where she will be stationed for a month.

The BEST news is that her permanent base will be in Port Hueneme, which is where she wanted to be.  What is even better for us, is that it is in Southern California, just 7 hours from home!!!

We are getting ready to celebrate her homecoming, which I will share with all of you ๐Ÿ™‚

When you pair beauty and low-maintenance in a single type of plant – that is one that I highly recommend.

Earlier this week, I was doing a landscape consult with a client who had multiple (Hesperaloe parviflora) plants throughout his garden and I was reminded again, how much I enjoy this succulent plant.  

I’d love to share with you just a few of the many reasons to add red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) to your landscape…

beautiful red yucca

First of all, its flowers are beautiful and appear May through September and hummingbirds find them irresistible. Red yucca isn’t only drought tolerant but is hardy to -20 degrees, making it suitable for planting in many different planting zones. Although it often referred to by the common name ‘yucca’ – it isn’t a yucca at all.

succulent

Even when not in flower, its grass-like succulent foliage add texture to the landscape.ย I really like how they look when planted in groups of three.

Grab my FREE guide for Fuss-Free Plants that thrive in a hot, dry climate!

**When adding multiple plants of the same kind – focus on adding them in odd numbered groupings such as 3 or 5.  The reason is that odd numbered plant groupings are more pleasing to the eye.

succulent

In addition to the more traditional red/pink colored flowers, there is also a yellow variety available.  They are the same as red yucca with the flower color being the only difference.

Their requirements are few…. full sun, well-drained soil and periodic deep watering.

succulent

Red yucca plants are extremely low-maintenance. All you need to do is to prune off dead flower stalks in the fall.  

Don’t prune the foliage like the homeowner did in the photo above – why create more maintenance then is needed?  Especially when it results in turning an attractive plant ‘ugly’?

**You can read more about my past experience with this type of pruning to red yucca that was done by a member of my crew in a previous blog post:

“Do This, Not That”

beautiful red yucca

Red or yellow yucca thrive in areas with reflected sun and heat.  They also do well around swimming pools and in pots.

I love how this yellow yucca was placed between garage doors, don’t you?  It is almost impossible to find a plant that will do well in this unforgiving location.

beautiful red yucca

Over time, red yucca can become overgrown.  The photo above are from my client’s front yard.  His red yucca aren’t quite overgrown yet, but will eventually get there in 2 – 3 years.

What I recommend is to simply take them out and replace them when that happens.  You don’t even have to buy a new red yucca to replace them with. Simply separate a small section of the overgrown plant that you just removed and re-plant it.

beautiful red yucca

What’s not to love about this fabulous plant? I hope you will decide to try red or yellow yucca in your landscape.  

Have you ever read a Dr. Seuss book?

It may be hard to find someone who hasn’t.  I had quite a few of his books as a child and “Green Eggs & Ham” was my favorite.  

As a mom, I made sure that Dr. Seuss books had a place on my kid’s bookshelves.

One of the things I love about Dr. Seuss, is his illustrations.  His imaginative drawings of plants, especially.

Earlier this month, my mother and I spent some time at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  As I walked along the garden paths, there were times that I felt that I had walked straight into a Dr. Seuss book….

Crawling succulents

Crawling succulents

Spiky Yuccas

Spiky Yuccas

Sundial made out of cacti

Sundial made out of cacti.

Desert Botanical Garden

Doesn’t this look like a brain?

Desert Botanical Garden

A towering forest of Cardon cacti.

Desert Botanical Garden

One word…”ouch!”

Desert Botanical Garden

 The drooping leaves of a Ponytail Palm.

Desert Botanical Garden

The strange shapes of Prickly Pear cactus and Agave.

Desert Botanical Garden

This Boojum tree would fit nicely in a Dr. Seuss book, don’t you think?

Desert Botanical Garden

 An ‘old’ cactus growing a beard.

Desert Botanical Garden

Arching Yuccas lean over the pathway as you leave.

I love spending time at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Of course, in addition to weird and strange plants – they also have beautiful flowering trees, shrubs and perennials.

Desert Botanical Garden

So, take some time for a visit and see what Dr. Seuss book they remind you of. 

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There is still time to enter the giveaway for one of my favorite new gardening books,

“The Unexpected Houseplant”

Click here for details. 

I love my job…

I get to meet nice people who let me help them with their landscape.  

Usually, they want help with plant suggestions, recommended maintenance and sometimes even which plants should be removed.

Sometimes, I visit a landscape that has some features that I just love.  I would love to share some pictures of a recent visit…

date palms and gold lantana

Her back garden was simply beautiful with date palms and gold lantana.

Fun Landscape

Along the back fence, she had created a plant shelf using masonry bricks and wooden planks.

She added a some colorful pots filled with golden barrel cacti and other plants.

I just loved this idea for masking a bare wall.  

Fun Landscape

In the front courtyard, I found a great example of how to grow a plant next to a palm tree (or any kind of tree).  Often trees have too many roots that make digging next to them almost impossible.  So, this homeowner, simply planted a creeping fig in a container and placed it next to the tree.

Pedilanthus macrocarpus

Lastly, there was a container with Lady’s Slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) growing inside, which softened the side of the garage.  This plant does well in full sun and likes deep, infrequent water.

In fact, I liked it so much that I went out and bought a Lady’s Slipper plant for myself ๐Ÿ™‚

You know what?

Sometimes it is easy to tell who in the neighborhood uses the same landscaper.  

It is pretty evident from these photos that I took over the summer that quite a few people in this neighborhood are using the services of the same landscaper….

same landscaper

This is the first ‘mushroom-shaped’ Olive tree that I have ever seen.

same landscaper

To me, this Texas Sage looks somewhat like a small loaf bread, don’t you think?

Ebenopsis ebano

For those of you who have seen Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano) in its natural form, may not recognize this heavily pruned one, above.

Texas Sage shrubs

These two Texas Sage shrubs remind me of a lumpy cake that you have just pulled out of the oven.

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I hope you are all enjoying a great start to your weekend.

This is the last weekend for awhile where I am not busy, so I plan to enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all, I would like to thank you all for bearing with me as I have taken a trip down memory lane recalling my adventures as a landscape designer.  Your comments have been so much fun to read.

Some of you may be wondering if I am still a landscape designer.  Well the answer is both yes and no.  I no longer work only as a landscape designer.  But, my work as a horticulturist does involve some design work from time to time which I love.

Why am I no longer working only as a landscape designer?  Well, there are a few different reasons.  

landscape designer

First of all, I did enjoy parts of my job, including meeting with so many different people and helping them to realize their goals for their landscapes.

I loved seeing the successful completion of a job.

And lastly, my fancy office with the black granite desk.

I know, you are tired of hearing about my fancy desk by now ๐Ÿ˜‰

landscape designer

Now there were some aspects of the job that I really did not enjoy.

The first part was the emphasis on selling.  Now I have nothing against the sales industry.  But I found out that sales is not my strong point.  Ironically I did sell quite a lot, but that was largely because of my passion of beautiful gardens.  But, I do not like it when a salesperson tries to do a hard sell with me and I definitely did not like the emphasis placed on that in the company.  Besides, I was not good at it, so I rarely attempted it.

Secondly, hardscapes were highly prized by the company.  Now hardscapes are those items such as patios, built-in BBQ’s, seatwalls, firepits and fireplaces, just to name a few.  Sometimes, trees and plants never entered the equation.  I have nothing against hardscape, but I preferred gardens full of plants with just a few hardscape elements.

Thirdly, I would spend a lot of time working with a client, producing a landscape design, only to have them cancel later and have nothing to show for my effort.

Lastly, the recession hit and the home builder I worked for declared bankruptcy and eventually went out of business.  And so in one year, I had created over 200 designs and only 50 would ever be completed and so hours of work was wasted and I would not see any money from them.

So, by this point in my career, I was at a crossroads.  I was very burned out by the amount of time and effort my job required and I had very little to show for it at the end.

So, I took off a year from working.  I am embarrassed to admit that even my passion for plants was affected.  I did the minimum in my garden, but did not receive any joy from it.

About one year afterward, I began to feel my interest in my garden begin to return.  And so, I started my blog, which I have enjoyed so much.

At that time, I began working as a horticulturist again, but with myself as the boss.  Now, I work quite a bit as a garden writer, speaker as well as a landscape consultant.  

landscape designer

I do still create landscape designs from time to time. It works out perfectly for me because I can control how busy I am while ensuring that I have enough time for my family.

Do I regret my working as a landscape designer for a home builder?

No.  I learned so much from that experience.  It not only made sharpened my landscape designing skills, it helped me to learn me more about myself and what I really wanted.

So, one important thing I learned is that life is about the simple pleasures – like taking time to stop and take a roll in the grass…..  

roll in the grass

Thank you again for following my short-lived career as a landscape designer.

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I do plan on sharing stories of my early career as a horticulturist, working on golf courses.

Adventures with coyotes, snakes, destructive storms, monster grubs and being the only woman working in an all-male environment are just part of what is to come ๐Ÿ™‚  

Well, there I was….in my new job, working only as a landscape designer for a large home builder.  My surroundings had definitely changed since I left my small and sometimes dirty maintenance office and traded it in for a beautiful office on the 14th floor in downtown Phoenix (you can read more in my “Part 1” post if you like).

Now you would think that with as a horticulturist, I was more then ready to get started……well not exactly.  Before I was allowed to meet with home buyers by myself, I had to learn how to design a whole host of custom structures.  And so, I spent 4 weeks learning how to design built-in BBQs, firepits, seatwalls, arbors, fountains, raised patios, etc.  

 Landscape designer

Landscape designer, Built-in firepit

It was harder then you may think because I had to design these structures from the ground up, which I found challenging.  Trying to factor in gas lines, how many bricks, did it need to be reinforced, how much material was needed, water lines, paint, stucco finishes, etc. was exhausting. I soon learned that visualizing these structures, much less drawing them out, was quite hard for me.  My brain just does not work well that way.  But, I did learn how….but I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed the process.

 Landscape designer

Landscape designer

With my new knowledge, I was soon ready to meet with clients in my fancy new office.  I had traded in my work gloves and boots for manicured fingernails and a business professional wardrobe.  Did I already mention my black granite desk in my previous post?I know I did….but it was just so beautiful ๐Ÿ˜‰

In addition to the fancy trappings of my office, I had a variety of samples to show new home buyers.  Pieces of flagstone in all sorts of colors, pavers, cultured stone, colored concrete and I even had a clear glass box with fake grass inside.

 Landscape designer

Landscape designer, I still have a couple of flagstone samples…..I’m not sure why I kept them.

I think my favorite prop was my ‘rock box’.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  I still have it and so I dug it out of my stuff in the garage just to show you how cool it is….

 Landscape designer

Okay, maybe it isn’t the most exciting thing you have seen, but wait until I open it up….

 Landscape designer

Still not too interesting, is it?

Personally, I found the subject of landscape rock selection quite boring, but clients needed to see samples of what type of landscape rock (gravel) they could chose to use in their landscape.  (It was surprising how many people get hung up on choosing landscape rock.  Throw in a couple who have differing opinions, and it would take forever.)

So I was finally trained and ready – after all I had my rock box ;-).  But, I was so nervous.   Did I mention that I had to actually draw out the landscape design in front of the client, price the entire landscape and get a signed contract within a period of 1 hour?

Believe it or not, I gradually got used to designing on the spot.  I enjoyed meeting so many different people and most of them were very nice to work with.

Over the course of my two years working with the home builder, I met with many wonderful people.  I also met with some unusual people as well.  Here is just a small sampling of some client meetings that stick out in my mind…..

CLIENT #1:

This particular client did not want any trees or plants in his front yard.  NONE!  Now for the horticulturist and plant lover in me – I just couldn’t fathom someone not wanting plants in their yard.

I did my best trying to describe the benefits of having trees and plants in his front yard.  I told him that I could design his landscape using low-maintenance plants.  But, he was not swayed in the least….not even when I whipped out my photos of beautifully landscaped areas.

 Landscape designer

Landscape designer

Well, who do you think got their way…..me or him?

I did!

I wish I could say that I persuaded him by showing him examples of my landscape designing expertise….but that would be a lie.

I got my way because the community where his new home was to be built, required trees and plants in the front yard.  Actually, 2 trees, 10 large shrubs and 12 smaller groundcovers.

The expression on his face was just priceless because he just couldn’t believe that he had to have plants.

CLIENT #2:

I had a wonderful time meeting with this client.  She was moving into a beautiful community located in the upper desert surrounding Phoenix AND she loved plants.

All except for this one…..

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

I’m not sure why she did not like this plant.  It is quite beautiful, low-maintenance as well as being drought-tolerant, all of which are good things.

Now the fact that a client did not like a particular plant was not unusual and did not usually present a problem; I would create a design using other plants.

However, the community she was moving into had some strict guidelines in regards to what types of plants could be planted.  Every home had to have one particular plant in the front yard.

Guess what plant she absolutely had to have planted in her front yard?

Yep…..you guessed it,  Red Yucca.

The client couldn’t believe it, but she was quite nice about it.  Together, we figured out where we could have it planted in her front yard where she would not have to see it.  We put it on the side of her house where only her neighbor would be seeing it.

CLIENT #3:

This client was building a home in a gorgeous part of the desert, called Gold Canyon.  It is located by beautiful mountains and the views from her new home were going to be stunning.

This particular community required a quite a few plants in the front yard – I love plants so designing for this community was always a treat.

We spent our time creating her landscape design together.  I suggested plants and their placement and I could see that she was getting excited about how beautiful her landscape would look.

I loved working with clients who could ‘see’ what the finished landscape would look like.  They were very easy to work with.

I remember her discussing her plans for inside her new house and she couldn’t wait to move in.

Because it was a corner lot, there was a 1 ft. wide strip of land between the block wall of her backyard and the sidewalk.

As we were getting ready to wrap things up, I mentioned that little strip of land was hers and that she was responsible for maintaining it.  Now, maintenance for that area was easy.  There were no plants there, just landscape rock.

Well, she was not happy about owning that little strip of land.  In fact, she was so upset that she walked up to the front desk and canceled her house purchase.  She wouldn’t even want to consider building her house on a typical lot.  

You know, I soon learned to expect the unexpected.  Each person is unique as are their preferences.  Who would have ever guessed that someone would back out of a house purchase over a little 1 ft. wide strip of land……

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I hope my stories are not too boring.  I have had fun recalling some of the more memorable moments.

If you are not completely bored to death……come back for Part 3 in a few days ๐Ÿ™‚

landscape design

Okay, some of you may be asking – when did you work as a landscape designer?  I thought you were a horticulturist?

Well the answer is, is that part of a horticulturist’s job involves landscape design.  Actually, that was my favorite part of being a horticulturist and I was able to design everything from annual flower combinations to large landscape areas and everything in between.

There was a point in my career where I wanted to concentrate solely on landscape design, so I took a job with a major design and landscape company.

As a horticulturist, my time used to be split between my small, cramped office in the golf course maintenance facility as well as around the beautiful outdoors, driving around golf courses and desert landscapes.

landscape design

I was the only woman in a department made up of 39 men.  Work boots, shorts and polo shirts were my normal wardrobe along with my floppy hat.  My mode of transportation was my little green golf cart.

A typical day was spent outdoors during the morning hours, driving around the landscape areas, fertilizing, pruning and assigning jobs to my landscape crew.

Afternoons were typically spent in the office catching up on paperwork and working on new designs and estimates.

Well that all changed dramatically once I decided to work solely as a landscape designer.  Why did I leave my previous job?  Well, after 5 years, they were running out of new areas for me to design and I did not only want to manage landscape areas…..I wanted to keep on creating new ones.

My new job involved more then a new job title.  It came with many drastic changes.

I was assigned to work with a major home-builder, working with new home buyers and designing their new landscapes.

The first major change was my office space.  I no longer had a cramped and sometimes dirty office…..

beautiful office

My new office was located on the 14th floor of a beautiful office building in downtown Phoenix.

No longer did I work from an old formica desk.  I now had a desk made of black granite.

Instead of a windowless office, I had a beautiful view of the city from up high.

The dress code had changed as well.  No more boots and polo shirts…..professional business clothing was now required.

I must admit that at first, I was a bit dazzled by the trappings of my new position.  I mean, I even had a coveted parking pass and free reign over a fully stocked refrigerator.

Well, my adventures in my new position were just beginning and then reality started to set in.

I met with many interesting clients who had some interesting views on what they wanted in their gardens.  I will share some of my stories in my next post.

The Continuing Adventures of a Landscape Designerโ€ฆ.