Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Start a New Garden Without Leaving the House!

In a time when the world seems upside down, the best thing we can do is to ground ourselves in our own space. When people know more about thier phones than they do about the plants and trees in their yards, or where their food comes from, it’s painfully evident we are out of balance. Stop and smell the roses…


Belinda’s Dream Rose

This moment of clarity in time, has given us a fresh look at what’s really important and it’s time to take back our yards. A garden is not the same to everyone, some need privacy, some need retreat, some need flower and food. No matter your needs there is a solution and you can get a lot of work done while you’re home, but the most successful landscapes start with a plan.

Whether you create one yourself with a free online tool, or hire a Landscape Designer like me (I work in Zone 8), it is essential that you start with a plan. I’ve been doing consultations for 20 years and I can tell you in about a minute when someone has piecemealed a space together without a cohesive plan. The word riotous comes to mind.


Once you have a clear idea of how you’d like to use the space, you want to look at your hardscape options such as stone, rock, metal edge, pergola, patio and pool. Once those determinations are made they will delineate the space between flowerbeds and living area and this will give you some measurements to begin with.

The next consideration is the amount sunlight you get, or don’t get. Sun hours are very important in central Texas, leaving a shade plant exposed to the afternoon sun is a recipe for disaster. Most times when people tell me they have a black thumb, it’s because they’re using the wrong plants for the space. Sun plants and trees Require a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day, part sun plants perform best in the morning sun and afternoon shade and shade plants can only tolerate dappled light in most conditions.

Now, it’s time to choose from a myriad of funky, floral and textural Xeriscape, deer resistant and/or edible plants…check your hardiness zone and research the plants you like for water needs and disease issues, as well as maintenance and life expectancies.

Finally, once you’ve made your plant choices, you want to be sure that you design and create a layout that will allow your plants plenty of room for their mature size. Smashing everything together so it looks nice when you put it in is only going to create a blob later, and a maintenance issue for years to come. Only use native an adapted plants for your region, only use organic products and protocols, and always support your local nurseries whenever possible so they can provide local plants from local sources. Big big box stores make their plant decisions from places that have nothing to do with our ecosystem, therefore many times their plants are not good for your space, which is another reason for failure perhaps.

With all the amazing plants in every hardiness zone, there is no excuse for hanging onto a plant from somewhere else because it reminds you of home, or a trip. Keep your specimens in a pot (as long as they aren’t invasive), and plant native with a small amount of adapted plants and trees and you’re well on your way to a successful garden.
Be sure to address your dirt! For most of us in Austin It’s beige, clay, rock and more clay and rocks, if you’re on the east side of IH 35, you might be lucky to be in Blackland Prairie soil, you still need to plant appropriately for our sun and low, annual rainfall.

For the rest us poor fools, we have to add compost and looooooots of it. On top of that, you need to add mulch and you should have a nice working depth of 4 to 6 inches of this mixture minimally. This way when you plant your new plant babies, they have a fighting chance for success once they hit the dirt. Don’t use colored mulch and never use landscape fabric for weeds, keep 4 to 6 inches of mulch and compost and keep your beds healthy with organics (above) and you will have no problem maintaining weeds with a once a week walk through. Here are a few things you can grow in an average “Xeriscape” back yard.

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Most local nurseries are relying on our pick up and deliveries of materials at this time. They are allowing you to call in an order for them to drop off at your door or in your trunk, so there’s no reason to lose the momentum you are feeling outside. There are many, many online sources for information including excellent videos and blogs to guide you along the way.

However, if you’d like more information on online or at home Landscape Design or Consultation, Please contact me at!

 Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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