Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time
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Landscape Design 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 an educational landscape 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 fertilization: Why use chemicals when there are organic solutions to every problem?

8. Design: I will teach you to design your own space using basic measurements and the plant selection we compile during our visit.

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. Before you take any bids you need to know what you are biding on and what you truly need. An educated consumer is a bad businesses worst nightmare. My job is to talk you out of “up sells” and unnecessary materials.

10. I can save you thousand in costly mistakes: Since I am not selling you anything my only goal is to educate you on your landscape. I help you stay in your budget, save money on unnecessary plants and materials and offer alternatives to costly hardscape finishes.

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Allow me to assist you in creating the space of your dreams. One hour with me can make all the difference between confusion and direction.

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Before a consultation…

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After. Open, inviting, updated!

Consultations are really fun and infomative, they should be required for every home owner! I provide Landscape consultations for Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Austin, Buda, San Marcos and Kyle. Depending on your area, a one hour consultation ranges from $85.00-$150 for an hour and considering a design averages $500-$1000, a two or three-hour consult is a deal! A one hour consult is typical, a two-hour consultation allows plenty of time to draw and design as well as allowing plenty of time to discuss all of your needs, develop solutions and create a basic sketch of the work to be done. Landscape consults are scheduled Monday- Thursday (some Fridays are also available ) If you would like to contact me to schedule your landscape consultation give me a call at 512-733-7777 or send me an email at lisalapaso@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lisa LaPaso

Landscape and Xeriscape Design, Austin Texas

Replace your boring sod with a Texas friendly, low water, low maintenance garden that adds value to your home and life.

Replace your boring sod with a Texas friendly, low water, low maintenance garden that adds value to your home and life.

Landscapes in Austin can be tricky as we are in an evolution of environmental change and a desperate need for water conservation and sustainable gardens. If you are in the market for a landscape design in the greater Austin area, especially Xeriscape low water, low maintenance design and installation, than that is my specialty and I would be delighted to work with you on your project. But before you call anyone there are some things you need to consider.

The first thing to consider when planning a landscape installation is how long you plan to live in your home. If you are there for a good long time, or you want it to suit you no matter how long you plan to be there, then have at it. If you are considering a move in the next few years. I suggest you read up on how to stage your home for sale before you start.

The next important consideration is your budget. If the sky is the limit, then good for you, enjoy the ride and what designer would not love to have an endless budget to play with. (I have had the opportunity and it’s delightful ) Though most people are not in that position and new landscapes are pricier than people think because materials like stone, mulch, plants and trees add up quickly and quality labor comes at a price. You would not go to a second rate dentist who has a general idea how to fix your problem, and you should not cut corners when it comes to your precious plants and expensive stone work. I pride myself in assisting the customer to make the most of the money they have to spend and it is important for your landscaper/designer to understand the value of your dollar no matter your income. Certain materials cost what they cost and there are no substitutes, but it is the designers job to create clever alternatives that can save you money and give you the ultimate results you are looking for. If your landscape professional is spending most of your time trying to sell you upgrades, they may not be serving your best interest.

Be sure you are hiring a professional with a native and adapted plant knowledge. Proper plant selection, layout, planting techniques and soil knowledge are something that comes with experience. The wrong plant selection can destroy the best executed design.

This is what a xeriscape, low water, low maintenance garden looks like!

This is what a xeriscape, low water, low maintenance garden looks like!

Be sure the plants your designer is choosing are the plants that belong in our area, not just the least expensive plants they found to make a profit. Always choose low water, low maintenance plants and trees. Austin is in a serious drought with no relief in sight and water friendly landscapes can be lush and beautiful. The less maintenance for you (through proper plant placement) the greater your reward from the landscape.

Something a lot of people neglect to consider is the maintenance that goes along with the garden your designer has created for you. Your designer should ask questions about your life, ages of your children, pets  how much time you travel with work or for play and how often you want to be in the garden doing maintenance. My goal is to give you a garden that requires real work every Spring and Fall, not every week or every month. This is achieved by choosing the right plants for the space and by placing the plants with enough room from sidewalks, patios and each other, so that they do not require trimming. River rock sidewalks and creek beds require a weekly weeding. River rock is not a no maintenance solution, this is a no water situation and your designer/installer needs to tell you these things so your expectations are met.

Another important consideration is to be realistic about what are your priorities and what are your dreams for this project. If a budget has to be met, it is important to keep your needs in check. If you must establish some shade before you can enjoy your space, then obviously some trees or a covered patio are a priority or all the flowers in the world will not encourage you to spend time outside. If you need a patio to grill and entertain, then solutions need to be made to give you the space of your dreams with the budget of your reality. Alternative materials can be used to create all sorts of fabulous spaces that you may not have considered and that is again, where your designer/installer should shine.

IMG_2880Lastly, follow your instincts not your pocketbook to make the best choice for your design and installation. I firmly believe your designer needs to meet your personal needs as the space you are offering to them (and they are charging you for) is an extension of your living space and not a place you want to look at with regret. Do your homework on the person/people you hire. Check references and establish a trust so you can maintain a lasting relationship. I maintain relationships with my customers years after the landscape installation so I can guide them through at least the first few years until they feel comfortable with their success. You do not want to deal with someone who installs and runs, as anyone who “creates” landscapes, (not just installs them) takes pride in their work and needs for you to be successful and happy so you will tell your friends and so on.

I am a 100% word of mouth business owned and operated by me, each plant is hand picked by me, and while I obviously share the task of installing stone, plants and trees, I oversee each project personally and take incredible pride in what I do. I believe installing organic, Xerophytic landscapes the way nature intended, is one of the most honorable jobs on the planet and if you are Austin local, I would be honored to work with you in the future. Call me at 512-733-7777 or email me for a landscape design or consultation at lisalapaso@gmail.com. Here is a little more info about ME.

Lisa LaPaso

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check out my videos on YouTube!

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”

Check me out of YouTube!

Garden Coach Austin

If you are in Austin, Pflugerville, Leander, Cedar Park, Buda, Kyle or Wimberly Texas and you would like to be trained to care for your landscape by a professional on your own property, a Garden Coach (or Landscape Consultant) can be a great value to you.

If you are a new home owner looking to plan, I can provide you with design ideas, plant suggestions, timing and instruction from beginning to end. If you have purchased a home with an established garden and would like plant identification and maintenance instruction, or have an overgrown landscape that has become too much to handle, a Garden Coach can help navigate the plants to keep, and those to give back to Mother Nature. If you are selling your home and want to make the most of your landscape and curb appeal, I can help.

A session is typically spent talking about your entire landscape, general maintenance and plant ID as well as “fill in” plant options, watering, organic pest solutions and much more. Sometimes we have enough time to make a quick sketch though additional hours can be purchased for this as well. I am also a great resource for information on patio design, hardscapes, installation and materials.

A one hour consultation with me runs from $100 to $150 per hour depending on the area (one hour minimum) and can save you thousands on costly mistakes. This is a great tool for the do-it-yourselfers or for those wanting to have the work done, but do not know where to begin. Honestly, a landscape consult from an educated Garden Coach can make all the difference whether you only want lawn, tree and shrubs or an elaborate garden design.

I also provide a series of coaching programs though the seasons. This is a great way to work through a project with a clear vision and steady access to a professional. If you are interested, rates vary according to need.

This service is hugely popular and appointments are limited during the peak seasons so call me today at 512-733-7777 or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com to get on the schedule to create the space of your dreams.

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Lisa LaPaso, lisalapaso@gmail.com or 512-733-7777

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Central Texas Gardener for Life

 

For those of you who know me and have followed my blog it is a no brainer that I would be excited to be featured on the local PBS station KLRU for my low water, minimal maintenance, mostly edible garden. I actually fueled my passion for gardening here in Central Texas by watching this show faithfully each Saturday back in the day to educate myself on some of the spectacular plants that thrive in Central Texas. As I became more water conscious I decided to specialize in low water , lush designs (not a fan of cactus), I realized that I had become addicted to the flora of Texas.

This past weekend CTG featured my previous home garden built by my husband Cavin Weber and my little old self on a real family budget one plant and rock at a time. The only help we had was with the patio, the rest of the space was entirely planted, composted, rocked and cared for by our 4 little hands and backs. Like many of you, we live on a budget so everything could not be done at once, but over the course of about 4 years we managed to create a sanctuary for ourselves and our family to escape from everyday life and to meld into nature.

We picked hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of food from this small North Austin yard and we shared thousands of beautiful memories, laughs and tears. This is the space where I worked though my youngest son’s fears and sensory issues related to Autism. This is where my eldest son came out to us. This is where my husband and I sometimes argued, made up and got back to work on our grand plan. Just like any other family, we had to work hard for what we have and this space gave us solace from the daily grind.

I want to thank my beautiful husband Cavin Weber for all of his support through the years as I could not be who I am today without his unwavering support and faith in me. I started this business as one girl with a shovel and a mission to “Save the Planet One Yard at a Time” and over the last 14 years, that is just what I did though I still have a lot of yards to go! So call me at 512-733-7777 or contact me at lisalapaso@gmail.com to set up your one hour landscape consultation and let’s get you started in the right direction!

 

 

Central Texas Gardener is a great resource for local plant selection and excellent organic gardening remedies. Watch it each Saturday on KLRU at noon and 4:00 or subscribe online to catch all the action!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

I’m on CTG!

 

Hi friends, I wanted to share with all my readers that I will be featured this weekend on PBS’, “Central Texas Gardener”! They are sharing my personal drought tolerant garden that I designed to incorporate food and color in the landscape along with fruiting trees for shade and fruiting vines.

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Aside from the Moon Flower, everything in this shot can be eaten. The Coral Bean has to be cooked not to be toxic, but the daylilies, rose petals, cactus and of course the nectarines in back all have edible properties. 

 

I have moved recently and had to leave this beautiful space behind but I was so honored to have this beautiful memorial to one of my greatest works of art.

A little piece of heaven.

I can still smell the flowers when I see this space. This is an irrigation free garden! Planting like the rain forest allows a symbiotic relationship that requires very little water.

I am also really excited to be on the show not only because it is a legend in Central Texas Gardening, but for me personally it was my original inspiration to do what I loved for a living. My husband and I used to tape this show every Saturday on our VCR (over 25 years ago) then watch it later in the day over a cup of coffee. We had a great apartment with a balcony that my honey built railing planters on and we had a beautiful collection of potted plants, roses, food and anything I could fit out there. It was our tiny sanctuary and I was inspired by watching CTG. Having come from IL, I was in a complete culture shock and knew nothing about the flora of Central Texas so each week I boned up on my CTG plant collection and when we moved to our first home I bought one of each!

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Creating exquisite Xeriscape and edible gardens that are organic, low maintenance and low water. There is no place for chemicals here.

As my design style changed, so did the garden and before we knew it, we had a master piece the neighbors were clamoring about. When we moved to our next space we took it up a notch and removed the lawn to make more room for flowers and ponds and created a wildlife sanctuary.

Finally in this house I went for more food. I figured if I was going to water at all I better get something to eat out of it, so we planted 3 pomegranates, two pears, a peach, a nectarine, a plum, grapes, lemons, blackberries, raspberries, kumquats and native edibles as well as peppers, tomatoes and herbs of all kinds. The result will be featured on PBS’s Central Texas Gardener this coming Saturday the 9th at noon and 4:00 on KLRU so set your DVR and enjoy…

For more show times and local listings check this out!

Central Texas Gardener

 

Lisa LaPaso

Humble gardener🙂

Top 5 Landscape Design Tips

The first thing to understand when taking on a landscape project is that sometimes it really is harder than it looks. The good news is that there is a ton of great information to help you take on the challenge. It is important to take into consideration how unique each space is and needs to be treated as such. Be sure to educate yourself by hiring a professional for a landscape consultation, or by reviewing the hundreds of available YouTube “how to” videos or ocean of blogs for Central Texas Gardening. Here are some basic rules of design that will help set you in the right direction.

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A Stunning landscape begins with a professional, knowledgeable landscaper/designer/consultant who listens to your needs and gives you the most bang for your buck!

  1. Pick a lane

Yes, pick a lane indeed! We have all seen the crazy pot lady who has 14 different kinds/colors of pots in the front yard that don’t match the house or each other. Or how about the “I found 10 different kinds of stone for free on Craigslist” guy? Sometimes a bargain is only a bargain if the outcome just doesn’t matter to you. If the finished product matters and you really want to improve your property value, you have to pick a lane.  That begins with only choosing a maximum of 3 colors/textures.

So for example, if your house is brick and stone, use either the same brick and/or stone in your landscape and perhaps add some colored metal edge and river rock as accents. If your front door is red, carefully use red accents in your pots, bench, art, etc. as too many colors can begin to look riotous when used by an amature. Understand that accents should be used sparingly or it can look “chochki-ish”. Finally, have a plan when choosing your lane, think about the cohesiveness of the overall design and be sure it carries throughout the space.

2. Use the right materials for the job

Cheap products are not a bargain. Free limestone left over from a neighbor’s project is great if that is the material you planned to use. Pre-formed concrete pavers that can never be matched (and frankly are outdated) are the beginning of a disconnected project. Avoid plastic edging, (that should be against the law), and don’t skimp on the details. Buy the landscape fabric for mulch on a hillside or plastic liner for beneath the river rock. Don’t use crushed granite in areas with runoff (it will wash away completely), or pea gravel in a walkway that stays fluid like sand on a beach. Don’t be in a hurry to do the whole project if money is an issue, take your time and do it right the first time. Do consider a landscape design. This can be a great way to see the big picture and tackle bite sized pieces over the course of a few years.

There are many free software programs available online that are very user friendly. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, visit the nurseries and stone yards, and grab samples of the stone to compare in your space.

Remember, stone varies greatly from pallet to pallet if they are not cut at the same time, so if you find a match you love, buy all that you will need.

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3.  Choose the right plants for the job

This is a HUGE problem many people know well for having inherited the standard “builders” beds planted with whatever they had left on the back of the truck. In my neighborhood they made it easy for themselves and gave everyone the same 5 shrubs, liriope and 1.7 Oaks (which I yanked).  Or perhaps you have the “previous owner blob of plants”. They lost control of because they were planted too close together and now they are constant maintenance. If you have sick, unsightly or oversized plants in your space remove them and replace them with plants, trees or shrubs that belong there. Use native and adapted plants, and know their mature size so you can properly space them. Plant at the right time in the right light.

Shade plants go in shade and sun plants need 6 hours of sun, part sun typically means it can do well with less light but it may also mean morning sun only, so do your homework. There are tons of sources for plants here in Central Texas but the best ones have pictures, light requirements and mature size, height and width.

Check out my facebook page and YouTube channel for some great plants and trees for our area. Sounds simple, but of all of my consultations, and I have done HUNDREDS of them, the most common mistake is to choose the wrong plant and/or plant it in the wrong place so map out your beds and measure. Colors of plants should never be restricted, if you like them all use them all but be carefull with heavy colors like red that will take the eye to it. If you use red on one side of your yard, use it on the other. It does not have to be the same plant, but symmetry will help your yard feel more balanced.

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4. Timing is everything

Late Fall/Winter is the best time to plant trees, fruit and many roses. Spring and fall is the best time for plants and shrubs. Summer is the best time to plan, design, install hardscapes and install (empty) mulched beds for the fall. Never take on too many plants at one time. If you have a huge project it may be best to plant in stages so you can water adequately without breaking the bank or the watershed. I suggest you do the front yard one year and the back the next.

5. Improve the value of your space

Not just monetarily, but functionally as well. Over personalizing a space can really hurt the resale of a home not to mention be an eyesore. Just because you’re a UT fan does not mean you need an burnt orange patio. The potential future buyer could be an Aggie😉 When I design a space I drive through a neighborhood to see what the norm is. If the norm is not impressive I take it up a notch, but building the taj mahal in a middle income neighborhood will never get a return on investment. Intelligently enhancing your landscape will not only improve your quality of life but also improves the quality of the neighborhood and the resale value of your home.

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Before, (above) an outdated landscape with overgrown shrubs and antiquated stone work.

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After, simple and elegant with updated stone work and deer resistant, appropriate sized plants. Over sized plants shrink the house and hide its assets.

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A final note, be sure improve your soil (or in my case dirt/clay) with lots and lots of compost and mulch. Expect to compost every spring and mulch every fall and NEVER use chemical fertilizers or weed control in your yard unless you have exhausted organic efforts first. Most importantly, whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, have fun. If you aren’t enjoying the process you are doing it wrong.

Now go get your garden on!

Lisa LaPaso

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check me out on YouTube!

 

 

Deer Resistant Plants for Austin and Central Texas!

Deer are a big problem for those who live among them. While they may be cute and fun to watch, they can wreak havoc on a landscape. You need to know what plants to use to prevent them from turning your yard into a salad bar.

The good news is that there are many “deer resistant” plants, the bad news is that even deer resistant plants can be nibbled on if the deer are hungry enough. It is recommended that you do not feed deer to encourage them not to eat your yard as it can have the reverse effect, but starting with deer resistant plants can definitely help your overall success.

The best plants to use are those that are stinky, spikey or stabby. There is a pretty great list so let’s go over some of them.

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Texas Lantana, full sun. All lantana are deer resisant and my favorite varieties are Dallas Red, Confetti, Gold, Trailing purple and of course, Texas.

White Salvia is also a great choice for deer issues, low water low maintenance. (sun to part sun)

White Salvia is also a great choice for deer issues, low water low maintenance, sun to part sun. All Sages are good deer resistant plants.

Butterfly weed

Butterfly weed, full to part sun. Huge Butterfy Attraction.

Squid Agave, (full to part sun)

Squid Agave, evergreen, full to part sun.

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Any plant with spikey margins, spines or thorns will help deter deers but they will eat roses so be cautious of those.

 

Greggs Mist is an excellent choice because it almost glows in the dark at dusk.

Greggs Mist is an excellent choice because it almost glows in the dark at dusk. deciduous, full to part sun

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Moon Flower Datura, deciduous, full to part sun

Paprika Yarrow is an excellent plant for Central Texas, evergreen, colorful and medicinal.

Paprika Yarrow is an excellent plant for Central Texas, evergreen, colorful and medicinal. Full to part sun

Blueboonet

Mint is an excellent deer resistant ground cover, paddle cactus and bluebonnet, full to part sun

 

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Oregano, evergreen, full to part sun, edible, medicinal.

Many herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary and oregano are for the most part are deer resistant, though some can be exceptions.

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Mexican Bush Sage, semi evergreen, Full to part sun.

upright rosemary

Upright Rosemary, evergreen, full sun, edible

Trailing Rosemary

Trailing Rosemary, evergreen,full to part sun, edible

Fireman's Cap / Helmet Coral Bean-Full Sun

Fireman’s Cap / Helmet Coral Bean-Full to part sun, deciduous 10 x 10

Golden Showers Thryallis

Golden Showers Thryallis, semi-evergreen, full to part sun 4 x 3

Wonderful Pomegranate

Wonderful Pomegranate, full to part sun, edible fruit 8 x 8

Yellow Bells Esperanza-beautiful and drought tolerant.

Yellow Bells Esperanza-beautiful and drought tolerant. deciduous, full sun. 8 x 6

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Full sun.

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Deciduous, full sun. 8 x 6

iris4

Bearded Iris, Evergreen, full to part sun 2 x 2

Texas flowery Senna tree

Texas flowery Senna tree, semi evergreen, full to part sun 8 x 8

Spectacular Bloom!

Evergreen Wysteria, Spectacular Bloom! Full sun.

The Jerusalem Sage has a really fabulous flower form and a beautiful true sage color to the leaf.

The Jerusalem Sage has a really fabulous flower form and a beautiful true sage color to the leaf. Evergreen, full to part sun. 2.5 x 2.5

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

Confederate Jasmine (or Star) vine is an Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful. Full to part sun. 15 x 15 spread

Desert Willow Tree

Desert Willow Tree, deciduous, full sun. 20 x 20

Lisa LaPaso-Pineaple Guava

Pineapple Guava, Lg. evergreen shrub, full to part sun. 8 x 6

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Mexican Feather Grass, evergreen, full to part sun. 2 x 2

Pink Salvia is the most common, bright pink and a great hummingbird and butterfly attraction.

Pink Salvia is the most common of the salvia greggi but all varieties are deer resistant, a great hummingbird and butterfly attraction. Full sun. 3 x 3

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Echinacia, Purple Cone Flower. Deciduous, medicinal. 2 x 1

Firecracker fern

Firecracker fern, semi evergreen, full to part sun. 2 x 2

Mexican Honey Suckle

Mexican Honey Suckle, semi evergreen full to part sun. 3 x 3

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Flax Lily in the front and Cordiline (the purple leaves) in the back. both are full sun to shade and are awesome evergreen plants for contrast. 2 x 2

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knife Acacia, evergreen full to part sun. 6 x 5

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Twist Leaf Yucca, evergreen, full to part sun. 2.5 x 2.5

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Texas Lantana, full sun. All lantana are deer resisant and my favorite varieties are Dallas Red, Confetti, Gold, Trailing purple and of course, Texas.

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Pigeonberry, shade, deciduous. 2 x 3

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Foxtail Fern, evergreen, shade to sun. 2 x 2

Ferns of all kinds are great deer resistant plants. Be sure you are choosing the right fern for your light requirements. Kimberly Queen, Wavy Cloak and Asparagus ferns are great for light and river, holly and wood ferns are great for shade and low light.

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Paddle Cactus, Agave and Palms are all deer resistant, evergreen and very low water/ just be sure not to place them near cars or people like these guys did.

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Kidneywood Tree, Deciduous, sun to part shade. Super fragrant when it blooms. 10 x 10

 

These are just some of the plants I love to use in problem areas to deter deer from inviting thier friends to your buffet. With many colors, textures and light requirements you can find an array of plants to choose from. Plant strategically and send those pesky deer over to the neighbors house for lunch:/

Lisa LaPaso

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Winter Watering Schedule

If you aren’t enjoying the Central Texas winter, wait a minute and it will change. It is no surprise if you live in Austin or the surrounding areas that you may be wearing a sweater one day and shorts the next. While it may be simple for you to add or remove an article of clothing, your plants aren’t so fortunate, so here are some general rules to get your plants through a typical Texas winter season. Continue reading

Front Yard Design Inspiration for Austintastic Landscapes

When considering a design, it is so important to think about what the space you are designing is going to be used for. When I meet with a couple to talk about how the space will be used, more often than not, there are a few  disagreements about what they want, and how they want to go about it. Each client has a unique set of wants and needs and it is the designers job to create a symbiotic relationship between the two. There are many things to consider when creating a new space and it should be something special to everyone who uses it.

What may not be obvious here is the need for the perfect timing of each trim to ensure maximum color all year. Trimming is done by hand, not by hedgers. A person who does not understand the growth pattern of these plants could do some real damage or prevent any color from showing.

This client likes a linear look, so I infused a little native and adapted color and texture to create depth in an otherwise small space.

In this intimate space (above), the need was to add color, hide the neighbor and give the illusion of more space. I created a layering effect that draws the eye upward to the front of the house, the interesting architecture and I created curves in the rectangular beds to add warmth with an organic feel.

The house below is an older home with updated architecture to bring it out of the 70’s, so I infused this design with a modern style and color theme and the home owner added a contemporary flair in the way of Cedar wood front door and accents.

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Modern Hill Country landscapes also call for linear lines but in this case, clean simplicity is achieved with Lueders and limestone blocks to modernize an outdated stone wall. Modern Hill Country landscape design is a beautiful trend right now that adds a “modern” look to homes built from the 70’s up to today.

Contemporary landscapes like the one shown below are using warm tones in the stone work (hardscape)and native, deer resistant, low water plants in the landscape (softscape). This is a perfect marriage for any Central Texas home.

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You should first consider how long you will live in the home and whether or not your remodel will be worth it.  (see “Staging Your Home For a Sale“) Creating a new space with colored rock, or something so personal that only you could love it, may not be the way to go if you know you will be moving in a short time or even in a few years. Spending money on something the next owner may not see as an asset is not always a good plan, but if you design wisely, your new additions may just add value.

A Stunning landscape begins with a professional, knowledgeable landscaper/designer/consultant who listens to your needs and gives you the most bang for your buck!

A stunning landscape begins with a professional consultation or a well laid out plan by the home owner. A knowledgeable landscaper/designer/consultant who listens to your needs and understands your use will give you the most bang for your buck. This remodel increased the value of this home as well as its functionality.

The above property is a 70’s ranch style home that had zero curb appeal and a terribly outdated landscape. The addition of rock in a contemporary, yet artistic layout added depth, interest and allowed the assets of the property to “pop” from the street. In this case the rock was used to glorify the Oaks, lead you from the street to the front door and to give a modernized design to the existing landscape.

Lawns on a slope can be really challenging to water and may require more frequent short watering instead of one long one to achieve 1' of water. If you r yard slopes set your irrigation to 2 or 3 cycles for shorter durations to achieve the necessary minutes.

In this photo I demonstrate the use of river rock as drainage, but also as a border (lined in metal) to allow the plants in the background their proper distinction against the lawn.

My main goal with each client is to create a space that represents all parties in the most thoughtful and cohesive way. I strive to enhance the home, your lifestyle, your garden, your extended living area…Your landscape.

This next garden is obviously a heavy shade space and while there is not a whole lot of color for these deer resistant, low water gardens, there are a lot of textures that play beautifully against one another. When considering the big picture of a space, the designer has so many variables to bring together that it can feel like a puzzle of color and texture but in the end, it is all about how well they play music together. When designing your own space I suggest you lay out all of your plants and live with them for a day so to see how they look to you, do your homework on the types of plants you are using or hire a professional you trust to create that space for you.

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A Design is only as effective as the plant list is successful. If the designer is not knowledgable about the plants they are using, even the prettiest layout will not be successful in the end. I have been working with central Texas plants for over 30 years and understand their nature and growth habits, light requirements, mature size and bloom patterns. I know which plants will remain evergreen and which will go dormant over the winter. These are crucial to the overall success of a landscape design.

Softscapes, or plant material are of course any living plant, tree or shrub and they should not only be pretty to look at, they should be spaced properly for the least maintenance, grouped with the same light conditions and water needs as the others and it should provide color and interest year round.

Hardscapes are the metal, stone, concrete, river rock, patio or brick frame you use to add interest to a garden, to add value to your home or to include a place to gather or to get away from it all. They are (for the most part) a permanent fixture so you want to be sure you always carry the same materials throughout the space, front and back for continuity. You do not want your project to eventually look like an afterthought when you have use materials you can no longer find, or use too many stone colors making it look riotous. Buy your stone at the same time if you can because the colors can change dramatically with certain stone, if cut at different times.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to start something special in your space, as the front yard and flower beds are the picture frame of your home and the first place you see when you come home after a hard day at work. shouldn’t that space represent everything you are and hope to be? It should be warm, inviting, and most importantly a soft place to fall, not just another chore.

If you would like a little help creating the space of your dreams, give me a call me at 512-733-7777 or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com to set up a consultation or bid appointment.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

like” me on Facebook!

Orange Flowers for the Texas Landscape

Oddly enough, orange is one of the least favorite color choices when I do landscape consultations with clients. I however, happen to love it in the landscape and it is my best friends favorite color (Hi Dalen!) so …  Aside from the fact that I think it is a really a great color, I also think the plants that just happen to be orange are really spectacular.

Here are some of my favorites,

 

Firecracker fern

Firecracker fern, full to part sun, semi-evergreen, low water, low maintenance. 2′ x 2′, hummingbird attraction. (Perennial.)

 

Cosmo

Cosmo, fun to part shade from 2-4′ x 2′. low water, low maintenance, re-seeds profusely. Deciduous. (Annual)

 

Butterfly weed

Butterfly weed, full sun, low maintenance and low water. semi-evergreen, butterflies love it! (Perennial.)

 

Canna Tropicanna

Canna Tropicanna is a great plant for a wet spot or part sun. I also recommend using this in a controlled bed to prevent unwanted spreading. Deciduous, cut back leaves in the spring before new shoots come up. (Perennial)

 

Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plant is a shade plant that reaches from 3′ x 3′ and provides beautiful color most of the summer months. deciduous, cut back in early spring. (Perennial)

 

Wonderful Pomegranate

Wonderful Pomegranate is a small tree reaching 12′ t to 8′ wide-ish. Full sun, little water and maintenance and provides oranges flowers in the spring and delicious fruit in late fall. Deciduous perennial.

 

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Full sun.

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant xeriscape plant. Full sun, profuse bloomer in the hot summer months. 8′ x 8′. Deciduous, cut back early spring. (Perennial)

 

Mexican Honey Suckle

Mexican Honey Suckle, evergreen, low water low, maintenance xeriscape plant. Full to part sun, great butterfly attraction. (Perennial)

 

aloe

Aloe Vera, medicinal evergreen with beautiful salmon colored blooms in the summer months. super low water, low maintenance. Remove spent blooms and divide pups every few years if desired. (Perennial) Part sun. 2′ x 2′

 

Globe Mallow

Globe Mallow is a beautiful silvery, pubescent plant that is evergreen and low water. 3′ x 3′, native in zones 6-8. (perennial)

 

honey suckle

Cape Honeysuckle Vine is but one of a few vines such as “Crossvine” and “Mexican Flame”, but one thing remains the same, the color is striking! Full to part sun, deciduous (crossvine is evergreen), low water, low maintenance, up to 20′.

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Peach Drift Rose. Not really “orange” per say, but very much in the orange family and loaded with color all summer long. Low water, low maintenance and evergreen. 3’w x 2.5′ tall. Full sun

 

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Texas Lantana, deciduous, super low water, low maintenance. Deer resistant, full sun. 4x4ish

 

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Firebush, 3′ w x 4′ t, low water, low maintenance. Part sun, deciduous.

 

A few other plants in my favorite list are the Living Easy Rose, Flame Acantha, the Lions Tail and of course the Dallas Lantana that includes a lot of red as well, but the fun part is the hunt, so head out to your plant nursery and see what beautiful new specimens you can add to your landscape this fall.

Now go get your garden on!

Lisa LaPaso

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

” Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

 

 

“Don’t Make Me Slap You!”

Wow, hostile right out of the gate! Actually, there is a really cool story behind this title so bear with me for a sec…Back in the day I grew up in a little town called Joliet (South of Chicago and well-known for its prison😉 and having spent so much time with my grandparents who were avid gardeners I too developed a love for nature, flowers and gardening in general. I was raised by a predominately Italian family filled with love that may have looked like anger sometimes but that is just how Italians talk.

My Aunt LeeAnn LaPaso who was well-known for her “don’t make me slap you/ yous” (yes, I sais yous, and still say it), the truth was she was a huge softy with all the love in the world, but she was not kidding, she might slap you.

Fast forward 20 years and I am a designer, installer, what ever, and I am noticing all of these crazy landscape jobs and do-it-yourselfers who are obviously struggling with their landscape decisions and as I am out on consultations with people who are asking for these grandiose landscapes but they live hectic lives and barely have time to brush their hair. I go home to my husband and I am stunned by the repeat offenders of the school of “biting off more than you can chew” and yet they don’t stop to ask, “how much of my time will this take up?”. The other very common problem is the infamous “I planted this plant in the wrong place so how do I fix it?”, but all I am hearing in my head is “Don’t make me slap you!” Now this comes from two places, one, I am genuinely concerned for your well-being, and the other is I really want to slap you.

WHY are YOU not looking at the available time you have and/or the potential budget you will need to maintain a particular landscape, and why aren’t you looking up the mature size of the plant you are about to put into the ground before you place it 6″ from the road, case in point…

Agave are swords dressed up as plants.

Agave are swords dressed up as plants.

Don't plant your Agave so close to the street, You're going to poke someones eye out!

You’re going to poke someones eye out!

Here is another favorite,

This tree has low hanging branches that make this sidewalk impassible. Limbs needs to be several feet away from the sidewalk and several feet above (7' at least) to avoid injury to the eyes or face of a passer by. You are setting yourself up for a lawsuit otherwise.

This tree has low hanging branches that make this sidewalk impassable. Limbs needs to be several feet away from the sidewalk and several feet above (7′ at least) to avoid injury to the eyes or face of a passer-by. You are setting yourself up for a lawsuit otherwise.

I suppose you could do the limbo to add a little interest to your walk but the likelihood of that is pretty slim. More than not, you will hit this sucker on your evening walk and freak out like you walked into a spider web.

An over grown bush can be more than just an eyesore.

I guess I am just supposed to walk into the street…The sidewalk is just a buffer for this tree.

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In this one I had to basically pull out into traffic to see if a car might hit me

So the moral to the story is that my husband and I had this great idea all those years ago that I would have a show called “Don’t make me slap you” where I went to landscaped yards or consultations and helped them fix the messes they, or the uneducated landscapers they trusted inflicted upon them. That never came to fruition but when I got on Twitter, I realized that it was a great opportunity to share these mistakes in a humorous and loving way, Italian style. If you are finding yourself stuck, overwrought or confused by your landscape decisions or inability to decide, call me at 512-733-7777 for a landscape consultation. My wo plus years of design and installation experience can save you thousands on costly mistakes.

So join me on my daily adventures in Central Texas gardening @LisaLaPaso  for a lot of gardening fun and education infused with some smart assness and a whole lot of valuable information that will keep me from saying, “Don’t make me slap you”.

Now go get your Twitter on!

Custom Stone Work in Austin Texas

Looking for some custom stone work or a new patio, fire pit or outdoor kitchen? There are many beautiful options to choose from but before you go with the “best deal” for your hardscape installation, remember that sometimes it is no deal at all. Stone work is an art form that requires proper construction to serve you well. There are also design aspects that can really ruin an otherwise great landscape. One of my least favorite stone additions is a tree ring that is too tall for the tree. I have replaced, repaired and hauled away many an expensive mistake made by not so qualified stone workers who knew how to mix mortar and not much more.

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This is an excellent example of what not to do.  It looks like a bad tree in “time out”.

Pretty sure this guy may not have owned a level.

Pretty sure this guy may not have owned a level.

Tree wells are popular though I am unsure why some people stack the stone 3 stones high building a shrine instead of a tree well. Many trees such as Oaks do not like that kind of weight on the foot of its trunk. Notice how the high the soil is as well? This means that the tree is grossly over mulched leaving the tree vulnerable to infestation and fungal problems.

Here is an example of an appropriate sized ring with a concrete footer.

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A better option if you must have one. Preferably done with a level🙂 (this is not our work btw)

Some really important key elements when building a stone wall, patio or raised beds are to be sure to make the wall level, leave weep holes for drainage so your bed does not become a swimming pool with dirt in it. Weep holes should be made from spacing the bricks 1/2 ” apart throughout the base of the bed in small rings, to adding a minimum of 3/4″ PVC in larger beds and french drains with 4″ corrugated pipe in retainer walls and terracing. You also want to be sure to add a sleeve for irrigation or electrical wiring for later use so all your good work does not have to be undone.

Stone breaks from the heaving of tree roots which is a result of building in an inappropriate proximity to trees, of course when it is built improperly due to the lack of materials like re-bar when it is needed, the result can be disastrous.

Pre formed concrete footers will be beneath the stone, pavers or river rock.

Pre formed concrete footers will be beneath the stone, pavers or river rock.

In this terracing job we built “level” concrete footers that are steel reinforced to support the weight of the walls and stone.

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Pavers can be beautiful when installed properly.

Pavers need a tamped down surface of road base beneath them to remain level over time. The proper installation will assure the home owner of years and years of enjoyment.

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Patio and Fire pit

Stone selection for patios and fire pits range wildly and the look of the stone can create a really fabulous space to entertain. This stone is still wet so it does not reflect the amount of variation in color, but remember that just like fabric, stone comes in various shades which vary from pallet to pallet. If you are installing a large project with several tons of stone, buy all the stone at the same time. Newly cut stone may not be in the same colors later on. Oklahoma stone (shown above) range from buff, to peach, to chocolate or blues and greys and most stone yards may call it something different so be sure to bring samples when shopping. There are many types of stones to choose from but some will require maintenance and some will not. The harder the stone the less “chipping” you will have, raw (bumpy) limestone can flake and change colors over time, but cut limestone can turn green from mildew if it is not sealed properly when installed. No matter your choice there is a certain level of expectation that must be managed during your installation to insure your over all happiness. You do not want someone selling you an expensive stone that requires a level of care you are not prepared to perform. The interior of a fire pit must be fireproof stone or brick to avoid breakage.

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Outdoor kitchen with custom wood or metal cabinetry.

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Outdoor patio and fireplace with a combination of pavers and stone.

From a design standpoint combining types of stone and pavers can be beautiful and inviting, but be careful not to go too overboard on your choices. I say more than 3 finishes or color is too many. If the stone on your house is white limestone then obviously you can use that same stone with two additional accents rather it be stone or painted accents, however, white stone borders in a red brick house…not so much. If you are using white stone against such a conflicting color, be sure to add in some the brick in the way of a cap or detail. conflicting color, be sure to add in some of the red brick in the way of a cap or detail. For example you could use the white stone on raised beds and the red brick in a sidewalk or combination patio. However you choose, create continuity throughout the space so the over all plan looks thought out.

Here are some more examples of our work;

Raised beds with landscaping

Raised beds with landscaping

Raised beds must have concrete footers to be level and last for the long haul with central Texas weather extremes.

Concrete patio with Pergola

Concrete patio add-on with custom Pergola

Pergola’s provide shade and style and much like well-built stone work, they also increase the value of your home.

Water features with landscape.

Water features with landscape.

Water features add beautiful sound and encourage wildlife. Much like a lush landscape, they can be very therapeutic.

Stone edge with fire pit and landscape.

Stone edge with fire pit and landscape.

Fire pits should be placed away from the house so you invite your family and guests to spend time in a different location from the typical seating area which makes the space feel larger and obviously more functional.

Stone patio, sidewalk and raised beds

Stone patio, sidewalk and raised beds

Be sure to use a quality soil in your raised beds. NEVER use sandy loam. You can use chocolate loam but my favorite is a planters mix that includes a small amount of loam, compost and top soil. It is very pricey though so for really large projects, stick with the chocolate loam and amend the top with compost every spring and mulch every fall.

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Custom built steps with lueders.

Hardscapes are a beautiful enhancement to your property or to your Xeriscape garden when designed and installed properly. For more information on a patio, raised beds, fireplace, fire pit or outdoor kitchen of your dreams, contact us at 512-733-7777 for a free estimate. We will customize the right look with the features and functionality that make your outdoors a place to entertain and create memories for many years to come.

Lisa LaPaso

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”