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    8 California Landscape Ideas

    8 California Landscape Ideas

    With California’s comfortably warm summer nights and mild yet cozy winters, it’s always the perfect opportunity to treat your lawn to a little landscaping upgrade. A fresh outdoor space will give you all the more reason to relax in its aesthetic artistry while you enjoy California’s lovely weather all year round.

    But with so many ways to beautify your yard, you may be wondering—where do I even begin?

    Whether you’re ready to outfit your outdoor kitchen with a pop of plant-inspired color or you’d like to turn your poolside into a prolific paradise, we’ve compiled eight California landscape ideas to inspire your next landscaping project. 

    #1 Start Small with a Succulent Garden

    If you’re new to the world of landscaping and are still discovering your green thumb, a succulent garden is an excellent way to add texture and color to your yard. The following are perfect for starting out because they’re such a low-maintenance landscaping option:

    • Agave
    • Aloe
    • Hesperaloe
    • Kalanchoe
    • Portulacaria
    • Senecio 

    You might be wondering, what makes them so easy to manage?

    Excellent question! Succulents have a barrage of benefits for someone interested in improving their landscaping (and gardening) skills, including:

    • Tolerating dry conditions – California’s often dry climate is a great environment for succulents, which are quite forgiving to areas that don’t receive much rainfall.

    • Needing minimal TLC – A little TLC goes a long way with your succulent garden. Their thick leaves and large roots help them retain water, so you won’t need to water them as often as other plants. They also only need to be fertilized a few times each year, whereas many other types of plants often require monthly rounds of fertilization to thrive.

    Succulent gardens fit well in most backyard environments. They’re especially ideal if your yard is on the cozier side, as you can easily find rectangular planters to comfortably host them—whether as a patio accessory or the focal point of your outdoor entertaining area. 

    #2 Craft a Cottage Garden

    If you appreciate a garden that doesn’t adhere to the normal constructs of landscaping—lines, form, texture, and color—a cottage garden might be just what you’re looking for. With a rainbow of color reminiscent of the English countryside, what’s not to love?

    Although they don’t follow the typical landscaping rules, a cottage garden usually contains the following elements:

    • A wide variety of foliage – From edibles like fruits and  to colorful perennials like heucheras and sea lavender, you can count on cottage gardens to contain a vast mixture of plants and flowers. Not only does the variety add splashes of color, but it makes your garden both visually pleasing and practical.

    • Fragrant herbs – Lavender, rosemary, and bay laurel—oh my! If lavender isn’t your cup of tea, you can add your favorite herbs to the garden instead. And as a bonus—you can count on their titillating scents to waft through the garden all summer long.

    • Pathways – What better way to enjoy the handcrafted beauty of your garden than with a winding pathway to tour its grandeur? You can create a pathway using various natural materials, from old bricks to woodchips (or whatever tickles your fancy).

    • Plants growing on walls or trellises – One of the reasons cottage gardens are so beautiful to look at is because they appear so wild and free. This extends to the flora of your garden growing unabashedly on anything they can grab onto, including trellises, fences, pergolas, and more.

    #3 Create a Tropical Oasis

    Picture yourself surrounded by a tropical paradise every time you step outside your front lawn—a bird of paradise and sago palm warmly greeting you as you pass them on your way for a morning stroll.

    You can have all that and more (without the hassle of beach sand) when you curate your very own tropical-inspired landscaping. California’s climate doesn’t always allow for an excess of rainfall, so you can plant a variety of low-maintenance plants that don’t require much water, such as the Sago Palm or Bird of Paradise.

    #4 Build a Contemporary Plant Wall

    If you want to add a hint of greenery (and novelty) to your backyard entertaining space, consider designing a plant wall that exudes modern California vibes. Crafting your own plant wall allows you to:

    • Create a wall that’s the perfect size for your yard
    • Add as many or as few spaces to hold your foliage
    • Choose from a variety of materials to create your wall, depending on your personal aesthetic (e.g., bricks, pavers, wood slabs)

    You can build a plant wall on an established wall of your home or from the ground up with a sturdy foundation, like bricks. Plant walls are an excellent landscaping idea for yards with a finite area of space for entertaining. They add a dash of freshness while not completely taking over your yard.

    #5 Replace Your Grass with Hardscaping Drought Tolerant Plants

    Certain areas of California are prone to extended periods of droughts. This may impact your ability to easily grow lush green grass during parts of the year. If you’re tired of noticing the dull brown turf that has become your lawn, you might benefit from replacing your grass with hardscaping.

    But what is hardscaping?

    Glad you asked. Hardscaping is when you use non-living elements in areas of your landscaping designs, like:

    • Walkways or yards (created with the use of pavers, concrete, bricks, stone, or wood)
    • Decks
    • Pergolas
    • Fire pits

    With California’s dry climate, hardscaping prevents you from wondering whether you’re overextending your allotted water usage. Instead, it beautifies your yard, is more sustainable, and creates an eye-catching footpath to guide you from one place to the next.

    #6 Bring a Splash to Your Garden

    Just because California isn’t known for its extensive levels of rainfall doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bask in the beauty of a well-placed pond or fountain in your outdoor space. A water feature is an excellent focal point for any yard, whether you fancy the idea of owning your very own koi pond or want to appreciate the trickling sounds of water as it flows down your rock waterfall.

    #7 Use Plants to Create a Classy Privacy Wall

    If your home is tucked right next to your neighbor’s, it might be challenging to host friends and family for a good old-fashioned get-together—especially if your neighbors can hear every clink of your wine glasses from the comfort of their living room window.

    However, you can make both parties more comfortable with an aptly placed privacy wall, created by the most natural creators of privacy in the world—plants. Yes, with the right thick foliage, you can add a clean aesthetic to your yard, all while establishing privacy for yourselves (and your neighbors).

    Some of California’s prime privacy hedges include:

    • Compact Italian Cypress
    • Compact Carolina Laurel Column
    • Fern Podocarpus Column
    • Indian Laurel Ficus Column
    • Wax-leaf Privet Staked Column

    #8 Create a Garden Under the Tuscan Sun

    You don’t have to be in Tuscany to enjoy the bold golden and crimson hues derived from an unforgettable Tuscan sunset. With the right low-maintenance sustainable flowers, you can breathe new life into your yard and appreciate the bright and welcoming colors all year long.

    Some Mediterranean-inspired (and California-climate approved) plants to include in your Italian-themed landscaping include:

    • Lavender ‘Provence’ – an erect lavender with fragrant grey-green foliage that you can use in mass as hedges or mixed borders.

    • Bay Laurel – This evergreen shrub boasts a pyramidal shape and is multi-stemmed with aromatic foliage that can be used as seasoning in cooking. 

    • Tuscan Blue Rosemary – Boasting vibrant violet-blue flowers, this herb works perfectly to add texture to the border of your garden. And with its rosemary-tinted scent, it lulls you deeper into your fantasies of a Tuscan getaway.

    Turn Your California Landscape Ideas into a Reality with Plants Express

    Upgrading your landscape can bring a brand new vibe to your outdoor space. From Mediterranean-inspired to cottage garden-themed, your landscaping ideas can be as elaborate as your imagination can muster.

    As California’s premier plant and tree supplier, Plants Express is here to turn your landscaping ideas into a tangible reality. Whether you want to add a few new planters to your backyard patio or you’re looking for a complete landscape renovation, we’re equipped with all the necessary materials you’ll need to create your horticultural oasis.

    With a variety of plants and trees to choose from and full landscaping packages available, the sky’s the limit. Find your botanical bliss with Plant Express.


    Back Yard Boss. 20 Best Pond Plants for In and Around Your Pond. 

    Better Homes and Gardens. Here's How to Use Fertilizer for Plants in Your Garden or House. 

    Circle. What Is the Difference Between Hardscape and Landscape? 

    Fine Gardening. Five Traditional Elements of a Cottage Garden. 

    Planters Etc. 10 Southern California Landscaping Ideas | Inspiration & FAQ.  

    Succulents. Six Reasons Why Succulents Make the Best House Plants.
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