Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time
Xeriscape design

“Garden Itis”

I suppose I truly developed this disease in my youth as I had a bedroom full of potted plants who were my only true friends, along with my shadow of a dog, Kenobi who was a full blooded German Shepherd and loyal as she was beautiful (they never tell your secrets).  I actually named all of my plants and could remember their names…I’m still not good with people names. My Grandpa and Gramma LaPaso we’re avid gardeners with whom I spent a lot of time as a child, so as I grew older I ventured into outdoor gardening and became a certified rock and plant-o-haulic.

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Unfortunately, as I grew older and got on with life which was more complicated, I got a lot more “Itis’s”, and a lot more “Ologist’s” to go with them. The last 16 years of my life have been a roller coaster of pain and depression followed by the weight gain and an overall crappy outlook on life.

About 7 years ago I went to my Dr., looked her dead in the eye and told her I would decide my “shelf life” if I couldn’t find resolve, because this was not the life I believed I should be living. After 12 Doctors+ and hundreds of sleepless hours reading and googling my symptoms ad nauseam, I decided to radically change everything I believed and started eating all the good fats I could eat, I started Yoga instead of kick boxing and I went to therapy for pain management to learn how to retrain my brain. I had an undiagnosed Autoimmunity, a constellation of pain and a pretty wicked case of anxiety disorder; on top of my two children with Autism. Let’s face it, I had some challenges.


I would have loved a “Lisa Consultation” to get my house in order, but I had to do the groundwork while working with my limitations. In that transition, I discovered I could no longer tolerate heat, I was diagnosed with IC, I had esophagus issues and sternum pain that felt like a heart attack when it flailed up, migraines, joint pain from arthritis, weird inflammatory digestive and skin reactions to things that had never been an issue and a lot of stress in my life. Even with removing the stress factor I would forever be affected by pain (IC/Spinal Arthritis)and I’ll never know when it’s coming…or going.

You have to do the work! A common mistake people make is to take the pills. This quick fix is a modern Americana horror story. At one point this Earth Momma actually had a shelf full of pills I never took more than once. I knew it was wrong and my body knew it was wrong for me.


No one asked me about my weight and eating habits, I would bring them up. No one asked me about my lifestyle or stress level or environment until I brought it up. During a consultation for your health or landscape, you have to start from the ground up, it only makes sense to do that for ourselves when we don’t feel balanced.

One morning I was watching a documentary about food as medicine and I took my eldest son to the store and began by changing the smallest of things in big ways. I had been doing a lot of good things, I didn’t eat fast food, I don’t drink anything sugary, I exercised fairly regularly, but aggressively. But, we flipped the scripts as it were, and it started a chain reaction in our home. I felt in control for the first time in a long time and it was contagious!

I needed to make some changes so I reduced my responsibilities and did more of what gave me happiness. I started saying no to others and yes to myself, I removed toxic people and situations from our family life, I only accept clients who are a good fit and I got rid of my long term contractors who didn’t appreciate my value. Much like a garden, your body doesn’t like being neglected. Yet, the smallest amount of effort can give great rewards and even greater rewards for larger efforts.

Much like gardening, the body has some basic hard and fast rules. You are what you eat, and even too much of a good thing can be bad. Environmental hazards are the devil and some ailments/challenges or handicaps are permanent and we are obligated to manage them as best we can for ourselves and others. It’s not always the same solution however, You have to do the work and you have to embrace the evolution that’s required for this change to come about.

Step out of you right comfort zone and try something new…

In your diet, it comes down to eliminating every single thing you eat and starting with a limited pallet, then introducing new things as you tolerate, or succeed at the former. Eventually, you have added all that you wish and learn along the way what to avoid. The same rules apply to gardening. Less is more, and quality is everything…

When your yard is a mess, it has clearly taken you a minute to get there. When your health or life is in chaos, most times it can be traced to a few common denominators. Chemicals are not always ( very seldom in fact) the answer. Our children (One with  Aspergers and the other is somewhere on the spectrum) have responded beautifully to chemical therapies so we would be negligent to suggest there is no purpose, but it should be the last resort, not the first.


A landscape consultation with a Low water, organic plant and landscape specialist can be a great tool to cure the problems you can’t seem to work out, but sometimes it takes a team. A design is a great way to start off in the right direction and keep going that way.


Much like any diet or exercise regimen, it begins with a plan of attack and education.      You wouldn’t just go to the store and take a fistful of pills without reading the label, so that applies to what you use in your yard. Plants, trees and organic protocols should always be chosen by an educated professional, or educated home owner for the best Xeriscape garden results.

Xeriscape doesn’t mean cactus , it means low water garden. Self care doesn’t mean deprivation, it means prioritization.


What we put the most energy into is what we get in exchange. If your circle bring you grief, find a new one or create an outlet. If your garden is a mess, you don’t know where to begin or you have these weird little spots that give you grief, seek some input and guidance: then create a plan that makes sense to you and stay true to it. Remember your vitamins, (compost), lots of water, (plants need it once a week or so), and lots of good, whole food (organic fertilizers like seaweed, Molasses and liquid compost) and rest (winter).

If you’re looking for some life changes in your health, I wish I had all the answers but much like Autism, each person is unique. If you’re looking for a health tuneup in you’re landscape, I can help, but you have to e willing to do the work. If you aren’t in the Austin or surrounding area, just remember to start from the ground up, and you’ll by on the right path in no time.

Email me at to schedule your Landscape health checkup/Consultation or low water, Landscape Design.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”


  1. Kim

    Yes, indeed, life is short and we each need to inventory our lives. I have had to edit a person or two from my life because of toxicity……………….leading to better quality of life. My garden has been neglected lately b/c of a family emergency. I am so happy to just now be getting back to this much loved hobby. The therapeutic effect is real!

    • Hi Kim, I think this has been a challenging year for many. I believe we are all in a greater awakening period because we have become so disconnected from nature in such a big way. Even as a career I let the stress of my responsibilities eat at me. So just like in a diet, I removed everything that was not a positive, then reintroduced or didn’t. It’s has served me well. Blessing to you on your journey.

  2. Anonymous

    Great post. Very inspiring; I admire your tenacity. Thank for this.

    • Thank you for your comment. I am on a long journey as we all are at one point or another and I see a lot of parallels in the garden and in life. When we get “cluttered down”, we miss the little things that add up. Balance begins in nature and we have to be connected to it, to be connected to ourselves. It also teaches us patience.

  3. Kate

    Wow, your story sounds very similar to mine health wise. It was a serious weekend of gardening followed by much pain and inability to do my office job that led to me to finally discover the oxalate connection. I’m following the low oxalate way now to get my life, body and weekends of gardening back! Sorry, spinach.

  4. Cyndia Moore

    Great post, and so true. Wish I lived in your area, but I’m in Grapevine (DFW area).

    • Thank you, I wish you great success in your space. You have a great plant pallet as well and the fun is finding them and creating a space that’s your own.

  5. Great blog and pics. Thanks for writing about the importance of good food and environment. Now I want grapes and peaches!

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