Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

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

 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

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. 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, 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 plants and materials and offer alternatives to costly hardscape finishes.

b

Before a consultation and design…

IMG_1162

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

20160219_173612-1

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.

IMG_0880

IMG_0883

For the best result, you’ll need to include 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 amend your soil and 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 $350-$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. 

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

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.

A design sketch includes a full plan for a small space, (great for courtyards and builders beds) but doesn’t not include where plants will go. A full design covers small or large areas like a full front and/or back yard including the plants in color and to scale. 

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 lisalapaso@gmail.com.

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”

Check me out of YouTube!

Best Herbs and Edibles for Shade

Many of my clients have the idea that food has to be in isolated beds. This is only true if you use chemicals. If you’re organic, food can be EVERYWHERE!

The garden below is all edible. The seed puffs are bolted lettuce that will reseed for me next winter. This edible bed consists of rainbow chard, kale, mint, bee balm, lettuce, plum and pomegranate trees. 

Edible landscape

Cilantro while seasonal will reseed and return every winter and go to sleep once it reaches the 90’s. Entity- while you can and allow the seeds to spread wildly. 

Cilantro

Mint, while invasive in some cases, it’s easily maintained in divided beds and pots. It makes an excellent shade ground cover and is edible, deer resistant and typically evergreen. 

Spearmint

Lemon Balm is both beautiful and edible. It is a low mounding plant that I has beautiful texture and lavender flowers. Extremely fragrant, edible and medicinal.

Lemon balm eventually produce lavender flower puffs.

Chives and Garlic both thrive in shade beds and produce lavender flowers to boot.

Garlic and chives produce lavender flower balls.

Onions, like garlic and chives are part of the allium family. They love shade and part sun and produce huge white flower balls. 

Onions can be planted in the winter and harvested all summer.

Lemon Grass is a mosquito repellent and the root is excellent in tea and soups.

Lemon Grass

Parsley is a health bomb for gut and digestive issues and swallow tail caterpillars are also big fans!

Parsley

Dill weed is edible from leaves to flower and make great additions to part sun and shady gardens. The Swallowtails will gobble them up, so plant a few!

Dill Weed

Lettuce, while seasonal will last much longer in morning sun and afternoon shade. Allow it to go to seed for free lettuce next year. 

Lettuce is seasonal and come up over the winter when left to seed freely.

Rainbow Chard is as beautiful as it is delicious and when planted in afternoon shade is also an evergreen plant.

Rainbow Chard

Kale is another power house food that many don’t realize do beautifully in a low water, part shade garden. Typically perennial unless it’s too cold, this is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Curly Kale

Savory Sage is a culinary sage that really doesn’t enjoy our heat the way it’s inedible cousins do. Try them as ground cover in morning sun and you might be surprised by the results. 

Savory, or culinary Sage

Thyme of all kinds is edible and flowering like all of these plants. Many don’t realize that all herbs flower in the right setting. 

Thyme are savory or sweet with Fragrance. Evergreen and low water.

Bee Balm is as beautiful as it is medicinal and edible. 

Bee Balm comes in different colors and sleeps in the winter.

Citronella, both leaves and flower are edible. While we may think of mosquito spray, (and you’d be right) we don’t often realize it’s also a member of the geranium family. 

Citronella can be fickle in hard freeze but it’s worth protecting or replacing.

Oregano is another edible plant that enjoys a little shade. While some varieties can definitely take full sun, others prefer a reprieve from the afternoon heat. 

Oregano of all kinds do well in Central Texas and flower as well.

Chili Pequin is a shade loving pepper plant that really packs a punch. Small white flowers and tiny red peppers that will heat up anything you add them to. Proof that big heat comes in small packages. 

Chili Pequin

This is my vegetable bed, not what you might think of, but that’s what makes it so special. Another great aspect of this list of plants is that they’re xerophytic once established, as well as disease and pest resistant.

These are my herbs….which just happen to include a Methley   Plum tree for afternoon shade. 

This is one of my herb, fruit and veggie beds and I have rain barrels on either side for easy access.

Now that you’re feeling inspired, try something new this fall and see the wonders of edible diversity in the landscape. If you’d like help designing your edible space, contact me for an in person or online Educational Consultation or complete Landscape Design for anyone in hardiness zone 8a/b. 

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

Top 25 Flowering Sun Plants for Central Texas

If you’ve been in Central Texas from June to September, you already know it’s hot as hell here. it can be very challenging if your yard is full sun, but the good news is that there are a lot of plants that can take the heat and still show off.

One you might not be familiar with is the Mexican Beauty Berry. While many are familiar with its shade loving cousin the “American Beauty Berry’, the Mexican BB is a sun loving beast. Super low water, with small pink spring flowers followed by large clusters of deep purple berries that are loved by people and birds. Edible and medicinal.

Mexican Beauty Berry

Lantana are very popular for their deer resistance and low water needs. A true super star in the Texas heat that come in a variety of colors and sizes worth trying. 

Gold Lantana

Salvia Greggi is a staple in the Central Texas landscape for good reason, it’s tough as nails. In a variety of colors from pink, red, coral, white, magenta and bi color, there’s a lot to choose from. Low water and deer resistant, it’s a safe bet for any sun garden. 3’ x 3’, evergreen and likes an occasional hard prune to encourage more flowers.

Salvia Greggi

Mexican Bush Sage is a semi-evergreen bee bush. With velvety flower spike’s and silver sage leaves, it’s a beautiful plant as a specimen or hedgerow. 4’ x 4’, super low water and low maintenance.

Mexican Bush Sage

Texas Sotol is a funky, silver leaved plant that produce giant flower spikes with little to no effort. Super drought tolerant, deer resistant and evergreen. Reaching 4 x 4’ minimum, it needs some room and it’s the worth the space. 

The Gopher Plant (euphorbia) is a low mounding plant that produces bright yellow flowers all summer long. Evergreen and deer resistant, growing to 2 x 2’ ish. It’s an easy care sun plant that’s happy doing its own thing. 

Gopher Plant, Euphorbia lathyris

Skyflower Duranta , (golden dewdrop) is a 6 x 6’ cascading plant with heels of flowers that become yellow berries late summer. Low water and minimal maintenance requiring a cut back after the winter. 

Skyflower Duranta

Pride of Barbados is one of my all time favorites for the xeriscape garden. It takes the sun as a personal challenge and blooms a beautiful fireworks display of orange, yellow and red all summer long. Super drought tolerant, deer resistant and xeriscape worthy. At 6’ x 6’ it’s a must have for the full sun garden.

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Full sun.

Another heat seeker is the Yellow Bells Esperanza. At 6’ and up, this sun yellow beauty is a stunning low water plant that welcomes the Texas heat and says, “please sir, can I have some more”!

Yellow Bells Esperanza

Society Garlic is the plant that keeps on keepin on from hot to cold. Full to part sun, low water and cold hardy. This grassy plant with its Puce colored flowers is a great specimen or border plant that’s low water and semi-evergreen as well as deer resistant.

Society Garlic

Tropical Saliva is a hummingbird feeder on steroids. At 2’ x 2’ it is a low flowering plant that reseeds readily and makes itself at home with minimal maintenance and low water. 

Tropical Sage

Rock Rose Pavonia looks fragile with its small hibiscus flowers that open and close from sun to dusk, but don’t be fooled, she’s a beast in the heat. Varying from 2.5’-3’ on average, it’s a repeat bloomer worth trying in full to part sun. 

Rock Rose Pavonia

Grey Globe Mallow is another sun loving plant with unique features and interesting texture. From its silvery leaves to the apricot flowers, it’s a fun, evergreen plant in any xeriscape garden. Super drought tolerant averaging 3’ x 3’-5’, this beauty is both medicinal and low maintenance. Perfect for zones 4-9, look for it and give it a try. 

Global mallow

Mexican Mint Merigold is as delicious as it is hardy in full sun. Typically ranging from 2.5’ ish it’s an edible, perennial plant that flowers from late summer to winter. 

Mexican Mint Merigold

Mystic spires is a great choice for a low mounting salvia. 2 x 2’ish with blue flower spikes all summer. This low water deciduous perennial is a sun loving plant that just makes you smile. Great as a border plant or sprinkled in the low water landscape.

Mystic Sage

Texas Sage is a flowering bush that can really take the heat. Often seen on commercial properties, it’s well known for it’s beautiful flowers and silvery foliage. Known as the barometer plant for blooming before a rain, it’s often more accurate than the weather man. Prefers not to be trimmed, reaching 6’ x 6’ ish. 

Texas Sage

Texas Betony is a coral-red mounding plant that is also a hummingbird attraction. Evergreen and deer resistant, this profuse bloomer loves a hot spot. 2’x 2’ish, it’s worth a try in a xeriscape garden. 

Texas Betony

Golden showers Thryallis is a shrub you should see everywhere but you don’t. A butterfly magnet with tons of small yellow flowers all summer long. Semi-evergreen in most areas, it’s deer resistant and very low maintenance. It needs some space at 5 x 5’ and it’s leaves provide showy fall color.

Thryallis Golden Showers

You probably don’t think of roses as a low maintenance or low water plant for Texas, but you’d be wrong. Cinco De Mayo Rose is a heat loving, sun bathing, non-stop bloomer for hardiness zones 6-10. Excellent for a cutting rose, a hedge row or specimen plant. This velvet beauty will impress you all around. It’s served well with a hard prune every 3 years or so and an annual application of compost. 3’ x 3’ at maturity and an abundant bloomer. 

Cinco De Mayo Rose

Bearded Iris is another one of my favorite low maintenance sun plants that aren’t only beautiful, but deer resistant. Known as a cemetery flower for its tenacity without human intervention, it’s about as low maintenance as they come.  

Purple bearded iris

Another rose worth noting is the Peggy Martin climbing rose. She’s a big momma that needs a lot of room and support to be all she can be, but she’s worth the real estate. With pink to white blooms each spring and summer, it is well know for its ability to withstand extremes after being covered by water for months after hurricane Katrina. Low water, low maintenance and a show stopper in the garden. 20’ x 20’ evergreen and delightful.

Peggy Martin Rose

My all time favorite vine for Central Texas is the Evergreen Wisteria. Not to be confused with the invasive Asian variety, this one is a repeat bloomer that’s fragrant and stunning with its facial and magenta flowers and dark green, glossy leaves. Reaching to 20’ it makes a great fence cover or arbor plant. It doesn’t have tendrils so it needs some support.

Evergreen Wisteria

Daylily is a plant that comes in a plethora of colors and sizes and I don’t think you an have enough of them. Stella De Oro is a great variety for zone 8, but I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you. Low water, low maintenance and loves the sun.

Daylily

The last two are a couple of tree that I use often in my landscape designs for good reason. The first is Desert Willow and it easy to see why. With fragrant pinkish-plum flowers and long thin leaves it welcomes the heat and sun and seems to thrive in it. Reaching to 20+ feet with a willowy shape and open branches, it’s a beautiful specimen that breaks the mold. 

Desert Willow tree

Last but certainly not the least is Anacacho Orchid Tree. This small tree is really special because of its funky split leaves and fragrant white flowers. She’s deer resistant, super drought tolerant and grows to about 12’ over time. I’ve seen them round in shape or tall and thin and no matter what shape they take, they’re a welcome addition to the xerophytic landscape.  

Anacacho Orchid Tree

The truth is, I could have kept going! Sun is where the color lives so experiment with some new colors this year and remember to give them plenty of room to grow and show. If you’d like more information on plants for hardiness zone 8 a/b, contact me for an Educational Consultation or Landscape Design.

Now go get your flower garden on,

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

“Why Are My Landscape Plants Dying?”

A query that many are stumbling with is the reason for their landscape failures. In my 20 years of educational Landscape Consultations I’ve seen a great number of reasons why plants, shrubs and trees fail. I’ve compiled my top 10 reasons your landscape is dying.

1) They’re too old! 
Many people don’t realize that a whole host of plants and trees do in fact, have a shelf life. Just like people and animals, plants expire too.

Below is a tree I never recommend because it’s a short lived ecological nightmare. The Bradford Pear, Arizona ash, chinaberry, Tallow, Hackberry and Ligustrum are fast growing trees that live about 20 years and fall apart in every direction. Conclusion, look for hardwood, long life, non invasive trees and plants. Most plants live from 10-20years and native trees can live for 50 to 100’s of years. 

2) They Were Poorly Planted 

When it comes to Central Texas landscapes, technique is everything. Proper planting is crucial for success. A plant strait from the nursery came from idealistic settings to the rock, clay and sandy dirt we have here. The least we can do is give them a good start.

The tree above and below were both buried too deeply and the base of the trees were/are covered in dirt and mulch. This will slowly kill a tree and you can see the damage at the ground level already. This practice damages the bark and creates root girdling.

Research proper planting, timing and watering techniques and use plenty of great compost, raised bed soil and shredded hardwood mulch.

Plants and trees should be planted in a hole twice as big as the container and a bit deeper. The root ball should be about an inch or two above ground level and mulched up to meet it so it all breaks down over time. Remember, “Plant it high or it will die”!

3) Inconsistent or Overwatering 

Have you ever watered a pot and noticed bubbles rising to the top? That’s oxygen being forced out of the soil, and we don’t want that. Water slow and low, allow it to absorb over a short time and dry between waterings. If you’re uncertain if you’re watering accurately, grab a handy soil moisture meter water meter like this one (below) for best results.


The problem is that overwatering and under-watering can look the same. Plants in shade, full sun or in wind will all have different watering needs. Familiarize yourself with your yards over all needs and water as infrequently as you can get away with. Planting only native and adapted plants and trees will help a lot. 

4) Using Chemicals 

Stay away from colored mulches and chemical fertilizers like weed and feed or the blue stuff. Instead, use only local hardwood mulch, tons of rich, dark compost and organic fertilizers like liquid compost, liquid molasses, liquid seaweed. Also look for organic products like Garrett Juice, Ladybug Products, or Medina Hasta Gro, to name a few. 
Chemicals are not only harmful to the planet, animals, and people, but it’s been proven to be ineffective and more costly all around. 

5) You’re Making the Wrong Plant Selections 

In this case it’s pretty obvious they chose the wrong plant for the job. Placing a tree or plant in a space that requires unnatural shaping or damage from structures or passers by, only subjects it to potential injury or worse. 

If you have an enormous plant so close to the sidewalk to hide your utility boxes, be prepared for a life of maintenance. This is barely enough room for one person, not to mention the limited visibility when leaving your driveway.

Moral to the garden story, choose the right plant for the right space and you will both be happier. 

6) You May Have the Right Plant in the Wrong Sunlight. 

The garden above is deep shade. If you’re buying native sun plants for a low light garden, you’re never going to be successful. The same is true for placing shade loving plants in too much sun. You’ll find you’ll need to water more, have pest issues and a very unpleasant outcome.

7) Regularly Check for Diseases and Pests

Above is an obvious case of fungal issue and below is a festival of scale, mealy bugs and aphids. Catching problems early means you can treat organically in most cases. 


8) The climate is changing
 

Like it or not, weather is getting more extreme. Our plants in Central Texas now have to survive temps from 10° to 110°. This is a lot to ask from a plant and it’s limiting what will be considered perennial going forward. 

Remember that plants and trees planted directly in rock will be up to 20 degrees hotter than the normal soil temps. Always be mindful to leave a mulch ring around plants to better manage evaporation and root/bark damage.

9) Your Soil Needs Amending

Poor soil quality, Lisa’s landscape, Austin

The one thing you must do is compost, compost, compost! It’s really that simple. Compost all of your beds, trees and lawn to the depth of 1/4 inch and soft rake it in. Every time it rains your feeding the soil and the plant which is a win, win. 

10) Poor trimming techniques

Doubling back to poor placement, poor trimming can be a death sentence to some plants and trees and at the very least, in the case of this tree, the structural integrity is compromised. You can also lose flowering cycles and ultimately the natural shape of the plant you desired to have in the first place. Enlist an educated consultant like me to teach you proper maintenance and trimming techniques so you have better success over all. 

So, now that you have a general direction on what to look for and where to begin, you can do your homework on your specific plants and solutions. However, if you find that some plants are more trouble than they’re worth after applying your knowledge, it may be time for a new selection.

If you would like a more detail from a knowledgeable, educated Landscape Consultant to help you with your landscape woes, contact me at lisalapaso@gmail. If you find you need a bigger picture, a low water Landscape Design may be a good fit for anyone seeking a low maintenance landscape.

Here are some examples of my work:

Blue Flowers for the Central Texas Landscape

I am a fan of blue because it is a calming, peaceful color. Additionally, I have two boys on the Autism spectrum, one who is Aspergers and the other that is somewhere on the spectrum of “awesometisticness”. We celebrate our uniqueness by “lighting it up blue” every April and by planting a new blue flower or seeds like Morning Glories and Balloon Flowers. 
With such few plants that are truly blue, these are some great ones to consider for Central Texas.

Balloon Flower

Ballon Flowers are special to me because my Grandpa LaPaso loved them. During one of my last visits with him he passed on some seeds and every year when it returns I know he’s smiling at me. This plant is best suited for a pot in Central Texas where you can control the moisture and does well in morning sun. Hardy in zone 7 it can take some cold and needs a little more water but not a water hog.

A no brainer in Central Texas is the state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet. While it’s an annual, only blooming in early to late spring, it is well worth the space. This plant must go to seed for new blooms next spring. This means it is very important to let the seeds dry and fall off naturally to allow a future bloom, or you can save the dried seeds and plant the following fall. Bluebonnet’s need full sun and grow up to 2’.

Blue Plumbago

Blue Plumbago

Blue plumbago is a beautiful plant that I love to use in both sun and part shade. They can be quite large even growing up to 3 feet tall and wide. I am in love with their delicate leaf structure and bright green color that add to the interest of any landscape. They are low water and very adaptable in most conditions and require minimal maintenance. A deciduous perennial that is cold hardly and deer resistant. A great choice from hardiness zones 8-11.

Black and Blue Sage

Black and Blue Salvia

Black and Blue Salvia is a shade to part sun plant that ranges from dark blue to almost black in color. Typically reaching 2 x 2’ tall and wide, it is a prolific bloomer and spreader in the landscape. Deer resistant as a true sage family member is, and super low water and minimal maintenance for hardiness zones 7-10.

Blue Rambler Rose

The Blue Rambler Rose is a low maintenance climbing rose that ranges in color from mauve to blue as it blooms and fades. Very low maintenance and low water once established, reaching up to 12’ to 15’. As an exception to most roses that require full sun, this beauty can thrive in a part sun space making it very adaptable. Primarily evergreen in hardiness zones 5-9. 

Skyflower Duranta, Golden Dewdrop

Skyflower Duranta is a stunning bouquet of deep blue to purple flowers that cascade from the stem like grapes on a vine. Eventually producing yellow berries in late summer, it’s a great addition to any full to part sun landscape. For hardiness zone 8/b (deciduous) to 11. 

Deep Blue, Bearded Iris.


Bearded Iris are an excellent xeriscape plant for Central Texas. In shades of blues, purples, pinks, white and yellow, this deer resistant plant is a super low maintenance, low water plant that stays evergreen all year, but blooms each spring. There are some varieties of repeat bloomers, so look for options where available.

Gregg’s Blue Mistflower is an obvious choice for blue flower lovers. Aside from its funky blue flowers that look like something from a Dr Seuss book, they are butterfly magnets. Attractive to Monarch and Queen Butterflies, they are a whimsical plant that stays low and wide. Low water once established and like sun to part shade. 

Indigo Spires and Mystic Sage (above) are two purple/blue flowers everyone should have. Repeat blooms from from spring to fall with tall spikes of striking flower displays. Full sun lovers that attract wildlife, they are worth finding and enjoying even though they’re deciduous in the winter. Indigo Spires reaches 3+ feet tall and wide while it’s little sister the Mystic Spires stays put around 2 x 2.

Spider Wort

Spider Wort

Spider Wort is actually a weed in Central Texas and for that reason can also take over a space if you let it. With bright blue flowers at the end of long temps and narrow leaves, it’s an interesting plant from sun to shade. Super low water and minimal maintenance but can require some management. 

Maynight Salvia

Maynight Salvia is one of my favorite plants to use in designs because it’s incredibly versatile as a border plant or specimen. Sporting deep blue flower spikes from dark green leaves, this compact plant packs a punch in the landscape. 1.5 w x 1’ t, super low water and suitable from sun to part shade, resistant to deer and rabbits. Best for hardiness zones 4-8, semi-evergreen.

Last, but certainly not least, the Blue Agapanthus, or “Lily of the Nile” is a flowering bulb that blooms a couple times in the spring and summer then leaves behind long leaves of bright green that add interesting texture in shade to sun gardens. Deer resistant and low water.

So the best time you’re “feeling blue”, plant some flowers to cheer you up!

Happy Gardening!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

Cinco de Mayo Rose

Rosa “Cinco de Mayo “ shrub rose is a mounding shaped bush that boasts striking mauvy/orange flowers with velvety texture and an almost glow in the dark luminescence. 

Cinco De Mayo Rose, full sun and low maintenance repeat bloomer.

This rose is special because it’s a super low water, disease resistant plant that is perfect for a xeriscape garden. Roses don’t like their leaves watered so infrequent or drip line watering is ideal for this rock star shrub.

Cinco De Mayo Rose, Lisa LaPaso

Lightly fragrant, with deep green foliage and newly red leaves and stems. A floribunda rose that produces literal bouquets of flowers that make excellent cut arrangements.

Cinco de Mayo rose

The best place for this garden jewel is in well composted soil with plenty of room to grow to 3 x 3’. It thrives in sun to part sun conditions.

CInco De Mayo Rose

Cinco de Mayo is beautiful planted in mass, hedgerow or as a specimen. Roses should be planted a little high and covered well with compost and mulch. Provide regular water until established, then occasional water during drought periods . 

It’s easy to see why I love this shrub. We’re fortunate to have a number of easy care, low water roses that do very well in Central Texas. However, deer think they’re delicious so plant accordingly. 

Roses are typically available in late winter or early spring, but keep your eye out for this one. This is an outstanding performer in the low water landscape and I highly recommend it to my clients for low maintenance and maximum impact. 


Always look for Earth Kind, or low water, heirloom and disease resistant roses. Always choose plants for your hardiness zone. Clearly, roses are an excellent way to add color and seasonal interest and a bonus of fresh cut flowers!

If you’d like help finding native or adapted, low water and low maintenance plants and trees for anywhere in Hardiness zone 8a/b, contact me at Lisalapaso@gmail.com. I provide  online Educational Consultation or Landscape Design and in person to a limited Austin area..  

Now go get your rose garden on,

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“ Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

%d bloggers like this: