Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Landscape Design and Consultations, Austin

Are you tired of looking at your yard not knowing where to begin? Let me give you 10 great reasons to call me for a landscape design or consultation.

1) Lawn Care

Whether you want to remove your lawn completely or learn why your lawn never seems to be happy, I can help you come up with a solution, watering schedule and fertilization.

2. Plant selection 

From full sun to full shade I know plants. Low water, low maintenance, native and adapted plants and  trees are my specialty. I can also teach you how and when to trim.

3. Outdoor living space

 Allow me to create additional living spaces with clever solutions including stone options and installation details.

4. Privacy

 Have a neighbor you would prefer not to see, or a noise issue that makes being outside unpleasant? Let me show you some plant and design selections that can address your needs with style.

5. Trees

 Oak Wilt is epidemic in our area so I teach you how to properly trim Oaks and all trees, as well as when to do it.

6. Water conservation

 We all have to do our part and I provide valuable money-saving information on water conserving plants, designs and rain barrels.

7. Organic pest control and


 I am certified in organic gardening and have. Whole host of great ways to control or improve just about everything. Why use chemicals when there are organic solutions to almost every problem?

8. Design

With my Landscape Consultation, I will teach you to design your own space using basic measurements and the plant selection we compile during our visit. (I can also design your space for you)

9. You can do it yourself or take educated bids 

If you are the type of person who really prefers to do it yourself and just need some direction, a landscape consult is a perfect place to start. I give you step by step instruction including timing and where to purchase the materials you will need. If you plan to have the work done or take bids, you still need to know what you are biding on and what you truly need. An educated consumer is a savvy consumer. My job is to talk you out of “up sells” and unnecessary materials by showing you “all” of your options, not just the most profitable ones for me.

10. I can save you thousands in costly mistakes

 Lastly, my landscape designs and consultation aren’t to “upsell” you. My only goal is to educate you on your landscape. I help you stay in your budget, save money on choosing the wrong plants and materials and offer alternatives to costly hardscape finishes.

Landscape design and consultation, Lisa LaPaso

Before a consultation and design…

Landscape before my design and installation

Before, you cannot see the huge porch and the windows have no natural light from the crowded, over sized bushes.

After the consultation and full design

After my landscape design and installation

After. Open, inviting, updated! Ready to enjoy, or sell for a premium.

Before: Desolate post-construction, outdated landscape in serious need of some love.

After: A Hill Country landscape indicative of the architectural aspects of the home and the beautiful Texas Hill Country topography.

Xeriscape landscape design, Lisa LaPaso


Xeriscape landscape design, Lisa LaPaso

Leader limestone saw cut stepping stones.

For the best result, I use only native and adapted plants for our Central Texas planting zones 8a/b. You need to add loads of compost and mulch and ultimately, you need to know how to care for your plants properly so you are set for success.

Best of all, Consultations are really fun and informative. They should be required for every home owner! I provide Online Landscape Consultations through Zoom for $225 for Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Austin, Buda, San Marcos, Driftwood, Wimberly, Kyle or anywhere in Hardiness Zone 8 a/b.
Depending on your area, an in person consultation is $325-$375 for a 30 minute educational “walk and talk”. This service is followed up by a concept sketch, an edited plant list and information packet for you to use throughout your space. 

Full Landscape Design 

In the end, should we determine that a full Landscape Design is needed, the consultation cost goes towards the cost of a detailed sketch or design. The average bed design ranges from $375-500 (for small or builders beds and a consultation) and a full, in color design ranges from $750 to $2000. Please check my list of services for more information.
Xeriscape design, austin, Lisa LaPasoi

Ultimately, a design consultation is a conceptual idea or plan of action with a write up of the details to include my professional recommendations for your property. Additionally, you will receive an edited plant list for your property and sunlight needs.
 You will also receive a list of organic protocols, watering instructions, general lawn and tree care, and planting instructions. Examples of recommended hardscape materials are also provided. 

So you know, Landscape consults are scheduled Monday – Friday mornings from 9:00 to noon. My afternoons are scheduled for drawing. If you would like to contact me to schedule your online or in-person landscape consultation, please send me an email and photos of your space to

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”


Beneficial Bugs “Get to know your friends”

Lizards, frogs and many beneficial insect eat the destructive pests in your garden. You need to be able to recognize who is who...Amphibians are hyper sensitive to chemicals so always use organics whenever possible.

Lizards, frogs and many beneficial insect eat the destructive pests in your garden. You need to be able to recognize who is who…Amphibians are hyper sensitive to chemicals so always use organics whenever possible.

Beneficial insects play a very important role in our biological warfare. One of the best reasons to employ the bug world  to fight your pest fights is that chemical insecticides in the form of a broad spray or granular broadcast kill the good guys and can make matters worse.  It has also been shown that destructive insects are actually becoming immune to chemical pesticides do to the gross over use in tremendous volume, which is obviously counterproductive in a large number of ways.  Chemicals destroy not just the pests, but people, water and soil too.  It is very important to get to know your friends and foes in the garden.  When you know who is actually working for you, you can make better choices in the way you tackle a potential pest problem.  For example, spraying a pesticide over a large area kills your bees, lady bugs, spiders, lizards and any other soft bodies creature who comes in contact with it.  Do you really want your children and pets around that?  Best part is (not really the best part…being facetious) is that when the destruction is done on land, it dissipates into the air as well…lose, lose.

You can order many bugs online to add to your arsenal, and others like Ladybugs, beneficial Nematodes and Praying Mantis can be purchased at local nurseries and released in your yard.  (How cool is that!)  You can also order them online at The Bug Lady and some natural pesticide at Planet Natural online. Many of your local nurseries will carry much of this as well so always support your local business whenever possible and if they do not carry these items, ask them to do so!

Lady bugs eat Aphids, in fact, an adult Ladybug can eat up to 5000 Aphids in its lifetime. While you may easily recognize a

These are the Aphids being munched on by Lady Bug Larvae...This is why it is important to know who your allies are!

These are the Aphids being munched on by Lady Bug Larvae…This is why it is important to know who your allies are!

lovely Lady Beetle, you may not recognize its eggs that are attached to the bottom of a leave in a yellow egg cluster, or that it’s larvae, that can eat a good amount of Aphids themselves, looks like a tiny ugly alligator (photo right). This is why it so important to know who your allies are.

One example of a pest or visitor I don’t mind sharing with is a caterpillar that will some day be a butterfly. Swallow Tails (caterpillar shown below) love dill and every year I plant plenty so they can have their fill.  However, the Tomato Horn Worm is another story.  While the  Horn Worm will become a Sphinx Moth (Hummingbird Moth) they are voracious and should be controlled as they can eat an entire tomato plant or Penta overnight.  I choose the pick and flick method. Yes, it is just how it sounds, I pick them off the plant and flick them off my property, or I escort them down the road to a field away from my house if my son catches me as he believes you should find them a new home ( and he is right), but  you may choose to employ the Trichogramma Wasp.  This wasp lays it eggs in the caterpillars and many other pests and when the eggs hatch, they feast on the host. Pretty gross really, but after you have lost enough food to the critters…it feels more like tit-for-tat  ;-/  The variety of wasp depends on your location and you can ask for the ones for your area when you order them.

I will be a beautiful Black Swallowtail one day. Please protect me so I can pollinate your flowers later.

I will be a beautiful Black Swallowtail one day. Please protect me so I can pollinate your flowers later.

Now maybe you’re not the buying bugs type, so at the very least you need to get to know who your friends are. There is a list of beneficial bugs you can find on-line, there are plenty of books, and you can find a short list of both good and bad bugs on a handy laminated single page you can buy at any bookstore for about $6. You can keep the page somewhere convenient and when you see a bug you don’t recognize, you can identify if it is a friend or a foe.  If it is a friend, thank him for his kindness ;-), if it is a foe, you will know who it is and you can learn how to attack it. (organically of course )

Now, say you have found a huge breakout of Aphids, (which by the way can be controlled by a hard spray of water from the hose) you can get your Lady Beetles and set them free on that plant/plants, and they will go right to work.  If it is a pest you identify but are unable to locate a beneficial bug to “sick on it”, you can be sure your Praying Mantis will take on the job. They are ravenous and vicious and while they will make good work on the bad bugs, they aren’t choosy and will eat anything in their way, including good bugs or her partners head after she has mated. Ugh

However, if you locate a certain bug and realize that the infestation is too great and or aren’t going to purchase bugs, and you think you need to rely on chemical warfare, than you will know what you are treating and can treat only the affected plants, not the whole yard. You begin of course with organics, but  if the problem persists, you go to the chemicals as a last resort. There truly is an organic remedy for just about everything, so taking a daily stroll through the garden is not only therapeutic, but helps you see there is a problem before it is too big for an organic solution.

If you are on Facebook, please ck out my” Lisa’s Landscape & Design” Page and by pressing the “like” button you will get daily updates about all sorts of great info including pics of beneficial bugs and what they are hungry for.  Here is also a list of the good guys from the Mater Gardeners website.

Happy Gardening !!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design   (“like” me on Facebook!)                                                                                                                                                                 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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Agarita, Lisa LaPaso

Interesting Foliage, Flowers and Fruit.

Agarita is an evergreen, native plant of  Texas. Boasting tri-leaved blue-ish green/grey foliage, yellow flowers and edible red fruit that is great for jams and jellies. 

Agarita, Lisa LaPaso

Drought Tolerant and Deer Resistant 

Agarita is deer resistant and super drought tolerant. It’s an excellent Xeriscape plant that works well in a myriad of landscape styles. 
Its sunlight needs range from sun to part shade, growing to 4’ x 4’ ish, with pointed edges that make it a great deterrent plant beneath windows or as a border plant. 

Agarita, Lisa LaPaso

Pollination Plant 

Native plants are so important to our environment for wildlife, water conservation, disease resistance and low maintenance. They are also food for pollinators who count on local flora for food. 

Go Native!

Use native plants whenever possible and always avoid anything listed on the invasive lists of Texas (or your State). Invasive species have no checks or balances and they’re not food for our local pollinators.

Never introduce plants from other countries by bringing seeds or plants into the US. Instead, grow to love the local plants and trees and enjoy the wildlife, butterflies, birds and bees that they attract. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Extreme Heat and a Depressed Landscape

I keep thinking about the influx of people who’ve recently moved into my area over the last several years and what an awful surprise it must be to spend a real summer in Austin Texas. Not only is there oppressive, extreme heat and humidity for us, (exacerbated by concrete) but it’s down right depressing to watch your landscape cry for mercy in a brutal heat wave with water restrictions. 

Heat stressed plants

With a reduction in water resources and a significant increase in population, there is no denying this is the trend going forward and we cannot assume that our supplies will be replenished by typical rain events.

Heat stressed lawn

This comes down to a number of things that are needed in order to make the adjustments to adapt to a changing climate. We will have to start looking at the landscape a little differently because our experience in these extremes of cold and heat are an education for our future. The good news is that there are some small changes that can make a huge impact towards success and productive stewardship.



Compost can save the world. Why? Because it replaces chemical fertilizers in a myriad of ways. Ask yourself, “who is fertilizing the woods”? The answer is compost. Decaying plants and animals, as well as beneficial fungi and bacteria all play part in the growth and success of the forest floor and in turn, the forest creates its own food.

A spring and fall application of compost to the depth of 2-4 inches not only fertilizes your soil, but it adds soil depth, chelates chemical damage, retains moisture and feeds mycorrhizal fungi that creates a web of food exchange beneath the soil. The only way to have a healthy garden and landscape is to have healthy soil. Stop using chemicals entirely and invest in compost.  

Water Collection 

Rain barrels

Rain barrels

Water collection is as old as humanity. It is a valuable asset for a myriad of reasons and your city would rather charge you for it than make you aware of the millions of gallons of water we allow to flow from our property over a lifetime.

Install gutters and add rain barrels anywhere you can. Make sure they are high enough for the water pressure to work and install them on firm ground, stone or concrete for best results. The typical 2000 square foot house can collect over 30,000 gallons of water in an average rain fall year. That’s free money.

Reduce the Lawn

Xeriscape Landscape Design, Austin_Lisa LaPaso

Adding native and adapted plant beds and trees not only increases the beauty of your home, but it saves a ton of water once established. You can see on one side the neighbor has a yard of lawn and on the other, a yard of color, texture interest and homes for wildlife and food pollinators, but with less need for water. 

Appropriate Plant Selection

Landscape, xeriscape, Lisa LaPaso, landscape designer

Xeriscape means low water plants and trees. It doesn’t mean dusty and spikey.

I xeriscape like the rainforest. That doesn’t mean I use water hogging plants, just the opposite. I use super drought tolerant plants in a layering affect from canopy to ground cover. This allows the plants to shield one another from the elements, keeps the heat from blasting the soil and holds moisture in longer. 

Most importantly in the equation is to use native and adapted, non invasive plants ONLY. Non native plants have no checks and balances giving them open season on our ecosystem. Native plants feed our pollinators and wildlife which is why they’re here in the first place. Native plants also thrive in our annual rainfall and soil conditions which makes out job easier all around. Check out this helpful link for native plant selections.


Lisa’s Landscape and Design, designer, shade garden, xeriscape

Central Texas has 2 planting seasons and they are painfully short. Spring is from mid March until early May and before temps are consistently in the 90’s. Fall is even shorter with a later September, early October window that lasts until around Thanksgiving. This is the only way you can establish root systems enough before either the heat or a freeze knocks them down. The goal is to establish the root system enough that the plants/trees can hold their own without stressing over and over. 

Plant Native Trees

Oak Trees

Mother Tree

Trees are the lungs and oxygen of our planet. With severe deforestation, it’s ever more crucial that each is do our part to restore them. It’s also a huge advantage in the heat. It can be 20° cooler under a tree the cost savings for trees planted near the home can be enormous over time. 

Trees add value to our home, provide shade in extreme heat on sunny days, create homes for wildlife and give great hugs. 
Tree hugger

Water Properly

Proper tree planting, watering and mulch techniques

Proper tree berm and watering technique

Contrary to popular belief, watering should be only once a week and deeply to the depth of one inch. This can be measured by placing a flat sided vessel like a tuna can near your water source to count how long it takes to get to that depth, or buy an inexpensive moisture meter to test the soil moisture instead. Watering to shallow depths only trains the lawn and plants roots to stay at the surface for water which we all know is a bad idea in extreme heat.

Water early morning or after dusk to prevent heat damage through water magnification, or water loss through evaporation. These times of day or also less windy which allows the water to go where intended. 

Schedule A Landscape Consultation 

Every person who owns a home should have an educational landscape consultation. This is a wealth of information about your specific space and needs that sets you in the right direction. Contact me at or contact someone in your local area. I provide online consultation for anyone in zone 8 a/b or 9, and in person to anyone in and around the Austin area. This service pays for itself by saving you thousands in costly mistakes. 

By applying some simple techniques and applications we can make a huge impact on water conservation and our own success. 

Lisa LaPaso 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

Shantung Maple

Growing up in the Chicago area, one of my favorite things about the experience and environment was the trees. People travel to the east coast just to see the changing of the leaves, and for good reason. When I came to Texas as a young teen I made it my mission to find trees with color and texture that were unique to the landscape and Shantung Maple has been a delightful find. 

Shantung maple, Lisa LaPaso

Shantung Maple (Acer trancatum) is a beautiful maple tree for Central Texas. Unlike the Silver maple with its highly invasive roots, or the Red maple that are prone to disease and leaf scorch, this well adapted maple is low water in full sun and an excellent shade tree for hardiness zones 4-8. 

Spring Color

Shantung Maple, fall color, Lisa LaPaso

The new spring leaves of the Shantung Maple are just as bright as the fall color it provides. It also produces green/yellow flowers as the budding leaves return. 

Shantung maple flowers

Beautiful and Shapely 

Shantung Maple, Lisa LaPaso

Fast growing to 25’ tall x 20’ wide. it has an upright structure that provides privacy and shade in smaller spaces. 

Interesting Bark

Shantung Maple, Bark, Lisa LaPaso

Not only is the tree lovely, but the bark is too. With gray to caramel tones, it adds interesting texture the landscape all year. Trees should be cherished not only for their shade, flower and fruit, but also for their bark and textural interest.

True Maple Leaves

Shantung Maple Spring leaves, Lisa LaPaso

As a cousin to the Japanese Maple, the leaves are shiny and well formed. It’s the only maple of this kind for Texas sun. This acclimated tree is non invasive, drought tolerant and disease resistant. 

Upright Growth Habit 

Shantung Maple, Lisa LaPaso

Growing in a rounded and uniform nature, it is a stately structure with flowers and fall color for any landscape. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”


Bee Friendly Flowers, Austin and Zone 8

Mexican Bush Sage, Lisa LaPaso

Mexican Bush Sage

There is a wealth of flowering plants that provide food for bees each spring through late summer and fall. Planting a variety of flowering plants is essential for ensuring that they have food throughout the seasons. Here are some of my favorite bee friendly flowers. 

Texas Dandelion, Lisa LaPaso

Texas Dandelion

Dandelions are the very first flower for bees every spring so don’t mow them and encourage reseeding in your perennial beds. 

Kidneywood Tree, Lisa LaPaso

Kidneywood Tree

Kidneywood is so covered in bees during the summer that the tree dances with movement. 

Fall Aster, Lisa LaPaso

Fall Aster

Fall Aster is a favorite among bees and butterflies.

Mexican Honeysuckle Bush

Mexican Honeysuckle Bush

Walkers Low Catmint, Lisa LaPaso

Walkers Low Catmint

Moonflower with honeybee

Moonflower Datura

Texas Sage, Lisa LaPaso

Texas Sage

Fragrant White Mistflower , Lisa LaPaso

Fragrant White Mistflower

Bee Balm, Lisa LaPaso

Bee Balm

Mexican Oregano

Mexican Oregano

Mexican Plum, Lisa LaPaso

Mexican Plum Tree

Mountain Laurel, Lisa LaPaso

Mountain laurel tree

Redbud Tree, Lisa LaPaso

Redbud tree

Flowering Cilantro , Lisa LaPaso

Flowering Cilantro

Thryallis, Lisa LaPaso

Thryallis, Showers of Gold

Creeping Phlox

Pink Creeping Phlox

Blackfoot Daisy

Blackfoot Daisy

Home Run Rose

Salvia Greggi (White)

Blue Mistflower

Gregg’s blue mist flower

Echinacea Purple cone flower

Echinacea purple coneflower

Texas Lantana

Texas Lantana

Esperanza. Yellow Bells, Lisa LaPaso

Yellow Bells Esperanza

These are just some of the beautiful Texas native and adapted plants that are low water, low maintenance and perennial. By planting a diverse group of flowers for bees, you are also cultivating a buffet of color and texture you can enjoy all year. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “

White Mistflower

Fragrant White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

White Mistflower, fragrant, sun to shade, low water, deer resistant.

One of my favorite Texas native plants is the  for so many reasons Fragrant White Mistflower. Aptly named for its beautiful fragrance and also known as White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset, or Havana Snakeroot. It’s an interesting plant with furry white flowers and deep green leaves that is semi evergreen and quite interesting in the landscape.

Easy Care

Super low water and little to no maintenance, it’s a great choice from sun to shade. Growing to 3-6’ tall and 2-3’ wide, it’s a beautiful plant on its own or planted as a grouping. 

Fragrant White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

White Mistflower Boneset

Incredibly Fragrant 

White Mistflower blooms a couple times from late summer to fall. The blooms start with these little buds that eventually become prolific furry flower sets that are very aromatic.

White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

Covering the entire shrub, the showy white flowers make a huge display of color against interesting green foliage. This is an excellent choice for part sun to shade gardens and does very well in sun with a little more help.

Loved by Bees, Hummingbirds and Butterflies 

This deer resistant plant is unique from flower to stem. It’s a major attraction for butterflies and native bees and the fragrance is an excellent addition to any patio or seating area. 

Great Addition to any Garden

Fragrant White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

 A beautiful, mounding background to a variety of color or shades of green, the textural interest and unique shape of the leaves stand out in any landscape.This plant is great as  specimen or planted in mass.Fragrant White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset

If you would like help finding native and adapted plants and trees for the Central Texas landscape, contact me for an educational Consultation, or complete Landscape Deisgn at I specialize in xerophytic gardens that make the most of layering plants and trees instead of just rock and cactus. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time’