Ola Grande – Drought tolerant, sustainable landscape design
Aptos Retreat in the Santa Cruz Hills
Spending time, on site, through all seasons
Having spent 2 years in the design and installation of this Aptos drought-tolerant landscape project, I developed a personal relationship with the land.
Kate and Stuart’s home was a sanctuary for them and the perfect place for their family retreat. A home that incorporated the outdoors as part of their living space. The main focus of my design was a sustainable, drought resistant landscape in harmony with the earth – friendly architecture and my client’s Santa Cruz lifestyle. Equally important was to design with awareness and respect for bio diversity and the natural habitat of the properties ecosystem.
All pathways doubled as sub surface drainage to avoid erosion from the driving rains in this area of the Aptos Hills.
All trees, aside from 3 dead firs, remained to set the stage for what was incorporated. The pool fencing was constructed from resurfaced redwood and pathway steps were cut from aged felled redwood, the seats around the fire pit were old tree logs mimicking the surrounding redwood forest.
The planting palette needed to be resistant to deer and turkey so the use of native plants and grasses, succulents and herbs worked well. The house water tank was shared with irrigation use, which resulted in a reduction of water. Low care plants were a high priority in selection of all planting.
The owners wanted a ‘play lawn’ area so the use of native bent grass lawn was perfect for volleyball, horseshoe and lounging. It is maintained with minimal water and maintenance. The watering system for the native and drought tolerant plants is achieved by a drip system that realizes a reduction of water usage of 50% once the plants have established.
As of now the second year of inception we have not lost any plants to deer (only some nibbling). We had roosting issues with the turkeys but found an agreeable solution. No, not Thanksgiving dinner!