Group by Hydrozones
Plants are often categorized by how much water they require, or their hydrozone. When designing your garden it is wise to group together plants that have similar watering needs. This is particularly important with California Friendly plants since over watering will actually harm many drought-tolerant plants. Although none of the plants in your garden should require too much water, there is still enough variation to make a big difference in the health of your plants!
Although we may not get much rain in Long Beach, every drop counts! Slowing down the flow of runoff through your landscape will allow more of it to infiltrate into the groundwater and also slow erosion. This can be accomplished through the use of groundcovers, but also with a series of rocks and boulders to create a “dry streambed.” If your property is sloped, towards the street, you may want to install an infiltration basin, an underground layer of sand, gravel or other coarse material.
When planning your garden, it is important to consider how much sun different areas of your garden will receive. Most California-friendly plants prefer sun, but there are some plants that thrive in shade. Many varieties of Lilies and Coral Bells will do well in shade and also have beautiful flowers! Consult a gardening guide, Los Angeles Coast Water Wise Gardening, or your local nursery for more information on a plant’s sun requirements
Many California Friendly Plants have wonderful blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Tubular flowers are the perfect fit for a hummingbird’s beak and the same bright colors that attract them also look great in your garden. Milkweed is a favorite plant of the Monarch Butterfly, Buckwheats are great nectar sources for adult butterflies and are eaten by many larva. Also, some plants with thorns or strong scents can be used to deter undesired animals such as stray cats
Everyone has heard of spring flowers; however there are many plants that bloom during other seasons.You may want to select plants that bloom during the winter to brighten up your garden during gray days, or autumn bloomers to give your garden a “fall feel.” Your garden doesn’t have to be stark or bare during the other 3 seasons!
When placing plants, it is important to consider their maximum size. We all want our gardens to be healthy, and that means that the plants will grow! Be sure to allow adequate space between plants and away from buildings to avoid problems later on. If you feel that your garden looks too sparse, you can always sprinkle wildflower seeds in for a seasonal burst of color!
Color coordination is a must for any garden. You can choose to coordinate between plants, or with your house. Complementary colors will blend, while contrasting colors will make your garden “pop.” You may want to use a color wheel while designing, or select several shades to serve as your color pallet.
There are many irrigation options available. It is important to consider the slope and flow paths of your property as well as the placement and root systems of your plants. Drip irrigation, Bubblers, Rotating Sprinkler heads and hand watering are all efficient ways to irrigate your garden. For an excellent irrigation resource, check out this Residential Irrigation Systems handbook.
The days of boring concrete patios are over! There are many different hardscape options that will be as attractive as your plants. By spacing pavers or bricks, you are able to create patterns while allowing water to infiltrate back into the soil. Decomposed Granite (DG) is a popular material for paths and meandering walkways. Hardscape is often the most expensive portion of a garden, so budget wisely!