Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

“Everybody Needs a Piece of The Lisa!”

I don’t write because I am great at punctuation, or spelling , or even writing for that matter; I write because I am CRAZY about plants! They get me so excited I literally get chills talking about them and that’s what makes me a great designer and consultant. After 20 years in the industry, I am even more excited about what I do today!

Landscapes evolve and the style changes, the plant pallet changes, the amount of water, availability of materials, the cost of materials and the logistics of every job can be over whelming. Add to that, a contractor who’s looking at “their” bottom line and you are trying to manage all of it.

A landscape consultation is an excellent tool for those who aren’t sure where to begin.

Before and After…

However, If you don’t have a “Lisa”, or qualified Landscape Consultant where you live, here are some basic tips to keep in mind.

Start Somewhere

Thinking about it hasn’t gotten you anywhere so far, so take a can of spray paint and start marking out beds. Where you begin is unique to each person. You have to assess what your priorities are. If you need to cover your neighbors outside TV or the peek a boo window into your half-naked neighbor who seems to live in their noisy pool, that is a given priority.

Remove the Plants That Don’t Work

 but, cutting down the small Oak to save the huge soapberry would not be a wise decision, so you need to know which plants are the greatest value. Sometimes you need to remove oversized plants near the house and sometimes they can be retrained into small trees and work beautifully with the new landscape. Learn what your plants are then assess each one for their value and save what you can, remove the rest and give them back to Mother Nature. Recycle, compost and repurpose whenever possible.

Choose Plants For The Zone You Are In

Your New Hampshire pallet won’t cut it in Central Texas. While some of the plants might be the same, you will find that most flowers here are small and plentiful, not large and abundant. It’s different, not less. Check your hardiness zone (Austin is zone 8 a/b) and stick with plants that thrive there. Also be mindful of your surroundings. Deer can play a big part in our plant choices and this may require a little extra work on your behalf to keep from providing a buffet. Native plants will obviously best tolerate your local weather and rain.

Choose Appropriate Sized Plants

Maintenance is using plants and trees where they are too big, too tall or too close to other plants or structures. Simple…

Create a Sketch for your Concept 

Below is the type of concept I can priovide from a consultation. You can also do this youreself by copying your survey onto paper and just start dreaming. Once you have an over all concept and flow, you can decied on materials and plant selections, or can have one prepared for you with a selection of plants for your sun or shade needs by a Landscape Consultant or Designer.

Amend Your Soil

Just when you think you’ve added enough compost and top soil, you just got started; This is not a one and done scenario. Compost should be added every spring and fall, spring as food and fall as a winterizer. Aerate your lawns every other year or so but amened and add depth to your beds every year with compost. Till over any open areas for weed control and water absorbtion. Hand tillers, pitch forks and tools like The Garden Claw, make easy work of bed aeration and weeding in mulched walk ways.

Always Be Organic

For almost every problem, there is an organic solution. Never start with the big guns. Take your Round Up and Weed and Feed to the nearest poison collection center and promise to never use chemicals until you have to. The soil is a living eco system. When we use chemicals on our land, it stops that process and the symbiotic relationship your soil has created with the outside world, ends. Our goal is to add compost and organic fertilizers to encourage mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria. These forces assist your plants and trees in finding food and nutrients needed to be more self sufficient.


In all ways, always. With gardening it is easy, you just keep as much as you can in an existing landscape and work smart with a new space to keep, and work with what is already there, including rocks and existing plants. Buy local, support small businesses like nurseries and stone yards and keep your pallet as native and adapted, low water xeriscape as possible. Xeriscape means literally, ” Dry Scape”, that doesn’t mean rocks and cacti, it means plants that take our annual rainfall. Always choose non invasive plants and trees and never plant trees from foreign areas. Foreign flora has no checks and balances here and there’s nothing sustainable about that.

So send me an email at to set up your design/consultation appointment, or get busy reading my other blogs and check out my videos on Youtube for the best plants for Central Texas and ideas for your area! Then have fun and enjoy the ride…

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”



  1. sandi

    Always, always, always appreciate your knowledge & imput, Lisa!!!!! Thank you again, again & again!

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