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Q. I'd like a lush, no-fuss lawn. What should I plant?
WG: Select plants from the Mediterranean plant palette, known for their textural variety, suitability to our climate and low-water sustainability.
Photo: A Los Feliz backyard designed by Wade Graham.
Q: What plants will soften my paved patio?
A: If using a jackhammer to break up the paving isn't an option, citrus in terra-cotta pots works well.
Photo: A Hollywood patio by Wade Graham.
Q: My garden's drab. What sorts of flowers don't need much fussing over?
A: Lavender is a great addtion to a landscape, and as long as you don't overwater it, it's very hardy. Plus, it attracts lots of butterflies. Another tough flower is...
...the climbing rose. Unlike hybrid tea roses, these are nearly bulletproof, and along a fence their thorns make them living barbed wire.
Photos: Hancock Park landscape design by Wade Graham.
Q: I want a nice green lawn. Am I going to have a huge water bill to maintain it?
A: Consider replacing your traditional lawn with a meadow. California meadow sedge is a great alternative that can be trimmed like a lawn but needs much less water. And you can plant flowers in it if you want a bit of color.
Photo: Los Angeles backyard by Wade Graham.
Charming and knowledgeable landscape designer Wade Graham is one busy guy--he runs a thriving landscape-design business with commissions ranging from Hollywood bigwigs’ homes to sprawling horse farms. He’s also a great writer. (Don’t miss his insightful meditation on SoCal garden laborers, Jesus Is My Gardener.) Just out is the paperback edition of American Eden, an illustrated cultural history of America as told through its gardens.
The Echo Park-based man-about-town’s landscaping commissions can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars. So until we’re ready to take that plunge, we asked him for a few free tips on solving Angelenos’ biggest garden gripes.
Graham’s most-oft-heard complaint: I spend big bucks hiring staff to feed and water my yard, but it still looks crappy--sickly plants, browning leaves, etc. The culprit, according to Graham, is SoCal’s ubiquitous leaf blower, which he likens to holding a hot blow-dryer against a thirsty plant, leaving a hard pavement instead of moisture-retaining topsoil. Instead of paying someone to kill your plants, Graham says, you should let leaves decompose naturally in plant beds.
Click through the slideshow to see more landscaping suggestions on creating a lush, no-fuss yard; making a patio pretty; and choosing indestructible flowering plants (hint: they’re as fragrant as they are beautiful). With help from Graham, you’ll be blooming where you’re planted in no time.
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