Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time
Therapeutic garden

Landscape and Xeriscape Design, Austin

Landscape Design in Austin can be tricky as we are in an evolution of environmental change and a desperate need for water conservation and sustainable gardens.

Xeriscape like the Rainforest 

Thoughtful landscape design in the greater Austin area is more important than ever. With runoff, increased water needs and the importance of sustainability, we all need to make the most of our land.

Xeriscape has a bad wrap for being rocks and cacti, but the truth is that it simply means “allow water” landscape. Unlike the desert, Austin is a diverse ecology that benefits from layered planting with canopy to ground cover like we find in nature. 

Xeriscape garden, landscape designer Lisa LaPaso

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.


New landscapes and Xeriscape designs are pricier than people think. Materials like stone, mulch, plants and trees add up quickly and quality labor comes at a price.

Landscape design, xeriscape, designer Lisa LaPaso

Hand cut Lueder and black Star in Limestone

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 of their landscape and you need to find quality contractors wo complete the job.

Xeriscape landscape design, Lisa LaPaso

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.

Landscape Design, Austin, Lisa LaPaso

Limestone patio, river rock sidewalk

Plant Selection is Key

Hiring a professional with a native and adapted plant knowledge is the key to success. 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.

Be sure the plants your designer is choosing are the plants that belong in our hardiness zone. Always choose low water, low maintenance perennial plants and trees. Austin has grown so fast that water is at a premium, but water friendly landscapes can be lush and beautiful if you make the right choices. The less maintenance for you (through proper plant selection and placement) the greater your reward from the landscape.

Xeriscape landscape design, designer Lisa LaPaso

Low water low maintenance garden. Xeriscape at its best!


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, and how much time you travel with work or for play. My goal is to give you a garden that requires 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.
Note: 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.

Budget and Expectations 

Another important consideration is to be realistic about what your priorities and dreams are for this project. If a budget has to be met, keep your needs in check. If you must establish some shade before you can enjoy your space, then obviously trees or a covered patio are a priority or all the flowers in the world will not encourage you to spend time outside.

Begin with the most important aspects of your design, 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.

Xeriscape edible garden, landscape designer, Lisa LaPaso

Lastly, design to the home you have. Don’t cut corners you may regret later. Ask your designer and contractor for the most affordable breakdown of priorities. You’re better off taking the design on in bite sized pieces as you can afford, than to use inexpensive materials. Be sure that your landscape is an extension of your living space and not a place you want to look at with regret.

Landscape Design austin_Lisa LaPaso

Xeriscape austin, Lisa LaPaso

Do your homework on the person/people you hire. Check the, out online and look for positive reviews or references. Establish trust so you can maintain a lasting relationship.

Relationships with my clients continue years after the landscape design, and this  allows me to guide them through at least the first few years until they feel comfortable with their success. You want to work with someone who “creates” landscapes, (not just installs them) and takes pride in their work. Your success is my ultimate goal.

Landscape and Xeriscape Design

I’ve designed and installed residential landscapes in Austin for over 15 years and now I use my experience in educational consultation and thoughtful landscape designs. I would love to put my many years of plant and design experience to work for you. Call or text me at 512-733-7777 or email me for a landscape design or consultation at

Lisa LaPaso

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

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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  1. Great Post! Also thanks for the Yard Tips!

    • Glad it was helpful! I am always looking for new topics if you have any suggestions, please share!

  2. I’m not in Austin but I like seeing what grows well there. If it can handle your heat, I know it can take ours. Then I just have to worry about cold tolerance.

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