Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Yes, We Have No Banana’s!

You’re not in Kansas anymore baby-doll, this terrain isn’t for the weak or the weary. It’s hot as hell, the only rain we get is all on the same day and the ground parts that aren’t rock are clay and/or builders dirt (aka, Red Death. There is a reason we don’t have basements here, the dirt is only an inch deep.


As bad as the dirt is already, there’s nothing worse for Central Texas gardeners from an ecological or labor intensive standpoint, than to introduce plants that just don’t belong here. YES, we have no banana’s! This is not the tropics. I’m glad “your neighbor has them”, but they do not belong here, they spread voraciously in all the wrong ways, freeze to the ground in winter and rarely fruit. And, you planted them why?

With all the amazing native and adapted, non-invasive plant, shrub and tree choices, it is frankly negligent to introduce plants that do not belong in our ECO system. (look up Ligustrum, Chinese Tallow, Kudzu, Nandina Domestica or Heavenly Bamboo) So aside from choosing the local Flora, here are some really great tips for a successful Central Texas Garden, (zone 8) or whatever planting zone you’re in,

  1. Install local plants, and buy locally from nurseries who make the effort to have them on supply and only use contractors/designers who know native or adapted, water wise plants. Why not use the plants that thrive in your area, they’ve obviously already approved of your soil conditions.
  2. Mulch your beds deeply each fall and top dress them each spring after you compost, or buy mixed  material and maintain a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Do not compost in the fall as we’re not encouraging growth. It’s sleepy time 😉
  3. Plant in mass for stability and impact. The Texas sun is hot and having a plant every 5 feet keeps them on a hot island, alone. Mass planting helps with soil erosion and loss of nitrogen and moisture.
  4. DO NOT OVER PLANT, less is more…”which is it lady?” Both, plant in mass but don’t over do it. Properly space your plants such that there is room to walk between most of them but not enough room to add a bench, and not so close they become a blob.
  5. It is what it is. You’re not in Cali, or Louisiana, or New Hampshire, or my original hood, “Chicago”; it is Texas, two blocks from the sun and harder than the Rock of Gibraltar. Amend your soil by adding quality compost, raised bed soils or dark, rich top soil as often as you can afford it until you see a difference in the texture of your working soil. This can take years so be patient and only bite off a little at a time so beds are manageable.
  6. Be Organic in every way. This isn’t a fad, it is thousands of years old and the same techniques are used today. They are cheaper, safer and more effective over all and you’re not killing your soil or yourself while you do it. Now, that’s not to say you can drink them, just that you won’t burn your dogs paws or babies feet when they walk in liquid seaweed.
  7. Choose plants that excite you and entice you into the garden!!! Here are a few off the top of my head…


  oh yeah, and these…



If you’re not excited about the Texas flora now, you’ll probably want to move 😉

In the mean time, you can contact me at for a landscape consultation or design and see why I think Texas native and adapted, low water, low maintenance plants are” what’s up” in a modern Hill Country landscape.  You can find inspiration everywhere if you just look!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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