Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Spiritual Sanctuary Landscape Designs

Religion is a topic most businesses steer clear of and frankly, I think religion is very personal and should be treated as such. Landscape Design is also very personal and now that we’re in our yards more than ever, our space should reflect who we are and allow space for prayer, meditation or simple appreciation of the healing powers of nature.

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Rather it’s a space on your deck or a tiny spot in the landscape, You can take a lot from a few moments outside, surrounded by nature. As more of us are home and feeling the stress of the world, it’s as important as ever to build a garden for food, a patio for prayer or meditation, or a simple space to experiment with pots and textured plants.

Many people envision meditation spaces to look like one, while this is true, it can also look like this…

 

It simply requires space for reflection. Small or large spaces with color and symbolism, or even a simple collection of pots can be a place on your patio for meditation and appreciation. Gardens are healing and I know this to be true firsthand. I’ve raised two boys with Autism who are young adults now. I couldn’t have survived without my garden and a little thyme…

Xeriscape garden, Austin Texas

You can create a lot, with a little space and some old pots. Spray paint and garage sale furniture can go a long way too!

Xeriscape design, Austin, low water color

Privacy and low water beauty, all in one. Now this pool has privacy and the neighbors have an  improved view. 

Both literally and figuratively, the tranquility of water can create a space of reflection, conversation or meditation. 

Easy care pond, Austin

Water features can add soothing sound, encourage wildlife and fish are incredibly tranquil to watch.

Small water features are pretty low maintenance and highly rewarding in the way of sound and plant profile. 

Water feature

A sense of humor can go a long way. Create a space you look forward to being a part of and look forward to spending time in. 

Above, momma bunny is munching the oregano while her babies take a dip in the small water feature. 
Below, an attached water feature that is low maintenance and a work of art. 

Water feature, austin landscape design

Built in water features bring the water to you and provide a sound barrier that brings in birds and visitors of all kinds.

Disappearing water feature, Lisa LaPaso

These concrete planters were converted into a funky water feature with copper tubes and this small space is welcoming to wildlife and a space of tranquility.

Finally, create paths and seating areas. Allow space to meander and view life from a new perspective as different seasons present different visual opportunities.

Low water, xeriscape designs

Create opportunities…

Landscape design, austin

Seating areas in landscape are extensions of our home and lifestyle.

Start small and work your way to success. Stay with native and adapted plants and trees only, visit them often and who knows what new friends you could make? 

Spending time in nature is spiritual. It’s is a reconnection with our true selves and the life sources and sounds we take for granted. Make time to give thanks in a space that shows appreciation for the gifts in our world. 

Meditation space

Simple rock seating for reading, yoga or meditation. 

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “

Texas Betony

Texas Betony is a super drought tolerant plant that is suitable for xeriscape gardens of all kinds. Central Texas has a lot of challenges with rock and hard clay and this beauty is a winner from a specimen, planted in mass, in pots on the patio or as a whimsical addition to a cottage style garden. It also makes a great cascading plant on stone walls, rock gardens and terracing. 

Interesting arrow shaped, bright green leaves with the typical square stems common to the members of the mint family. It’s herbaceous nature means that it is deer resistant and being a native, it is disease resistant as well.

Showy 8” coral spikes of color on and off throughout the spring and summer months. Generally 2 ‘ x 2 ‘ish, evergreen in mild winters and an attraction to hummingbirds. 

If you would like help choosing low water, low maintenance plants and trees for your hardiness zone 8a/b landscape, contact me at lisalapaso@gmail.com for an online Educational Consultation or Landscape Design. 

 

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time “

Walker’s Low Catmint

I found this little jewel about 15 years ago by accident and I was very happy to see it become quite popular since then. Over the last 20 years I have designed and installed hundreds of homes using hundreds of plants and trees from sun to shade. This year is a whole new level of landscape design in Austin Texas. Why? Because now we realize that to live in Austin means the plants and trees we choose need to survive from 10° to 110° and sometimes, within days.

Walker’s Low Catmint, sun to part sun, evergreen, 2 x 2

My mission from the conception of this blog is bring awareness to the plants and trees that are not only native and adapted, but low water and low maintenance. We have other things to do and our gardens should be working for us more than we work for it, or we’re doing it wrong. 

Silver green, leathery foliage is accompanied by tall spikes of fragrant, lavender blue flowers throughout the spring and summer months. It’s Evergreen beauty transitions through the winter and quickly produce blooms again in early spring.

Deer and bunny resistant and a great value towards textural interest and effortless beauty. The tall flower spikes are lovely in floral arrangements and are a huge attraction to native bees and butterflies. Excellent for xeriscape beds and pots for dramatic affect. 

Landscape design with texture and color

Walker’s Low Catmint with red Drift Roses and white Yarrow.

This plant is beautiful as a specimen, planted in mass or cascading from a wall or terracing. It is a low mounding perennial that reaches to around 2 ‘w x 1.5 ‘ish, when mature. Very little water once established and little to no maintenance to maintain its beautiful look. It can be cut back very easily if used near pathways and it’s minty scent is a mosquito deterrent, to boot. Dutifully serving hardiness zones 4-9, it’s worth making some room next season for this lavender lovely.

 

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time’

White Mistflower, “Shrubby White Boneset”

While many have seen its relative “Blue Mistflower”, this fragrant white variety will be a new favorite too. I use White Mistflower, or Shrubby White Boneset, from full sun to mostly shade, and this evergreen beauty is well worth the real estate in a low water landscape.

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A native the Central Texas and the Edwards Plateau, this Incredibly fragrant, semi evergreen shrub is beautiful as a specimen or planted in mass.

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One of our important pollinator plants, it has a funky Dr. Seuss looking flower that stands out in the landscape. It is also really effective planted in mass not just for its look but for the scent that permeates the space. Considered semi-evergreen for its quick comeback after a freeze, and even after the harshest winter she bounces right back.

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White Mistflower works great in pots as well alone or planted in groupings of color.

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White Mistflower, fragrant, sun to shade, low water, deer resistant.

This woody perennial plant is super low water once established, flowering off and on through the summer with fuzzy white bouquets and a beautiful texture in shaded spaces for affect. Next season, find a new spot to give this little gem a try. Give it at least 3’ in Central Texas and some can reach to 6’ tall over time.

Native to Texas and a great choice for all of hardiness zone 8-10, excellent for a moonlight garden or pollination bed and much like it’s blue counterpart, is a showy butterfly and bee attraction. 

Happy Gardening!

Lisa LaPaso

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

The Pandemic Purge, Take Your Space Back.

Mother Tree

I don’t think it’s a secret to anybody at this point that we are in the midst of a pandemic and these events take place about every hundred years or so. They are a steady reminder that mother nature will take things into her own hands when we get out of balance. These anomalies occur when humans become too arrogant or uneducated about the matters of the earth and its flora and fauna.

the Earth is intended to have spaces no man is allowed to pilfer without consequence. These are the lungs of the Earth where Mother Trees live and when her children are disrespected, we will pay for our insolence. Deforestation has lead to outbreaks that would ordinarily be contained in its environment.

In our own yards the same affect is true. When we spread non native plants, tree and grass, douse it in chemical solutions to keep it green and use drinking water to feed the addiction of non native species, what might be the consequences? In Austin, it is algal blooms, erosion issues, water shortages, toxic lakes, invasive species, air pollution and so much more. But you can help, and it’s time to take our yards back.

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More recently winter offered a second reminder that Climate Change is very much real and it does not mean things will get hotter, it means that the weather events will be more intense.


Now that the ice storm has wiped out some of your inventory anyway, there’s no better time to Start with a “choose and purge” session. Mark the plants and trees you plan to keep or get rid of depending on the amount and size of your space. Reduce the clutter and oversized plants to see the bigger picture.

Find an educated consultant like myself to give you direction, or do your home work by educating yourself on the light, water and maintenance needs, as well as native or adapted plants for the hardiness zone in your area. Choose deer resistant varieties if needed and include assorted evergreen in a balance that makes sense all year round. Read and watch videos about Organic gardening for your area including proper planting techniques and organic soil amendments. Then choose your design around your needs. Only use native and adapted plants for our hardiness zone 8 a/b and be sure to research the plants that can withstand heat and cold from 110° to 10° and back again, or just email me and I can help.

Rather you choose modern Hill Country Design, English Garden or a Contemporary Xeriscape, you will want to be intentional with the selection of materials you choose to work with. Here is another area that requires some homework. Go online and watch several sources on how to create a dry river bed, how to build a patio, concrete, digging plants and trees and even irrigation so you have enough information to spot a liar. Then, much like dating, you’ll kiss some frogs, so when you’re bidding be sure you have an apples to apples concept to work from and stick to the plan unless you find a better solution you’re confident about, then research that one too.

There are so many beautiful choices of plants and materials we can use in central Texas and this past year has been a really important reminder that we need to soften our own space and create a living area outside of our home that makes us feel at peace. With a cohesive plan and a competent contractor, you can pick and chose what you prefer to have done and what you wish to do yourself. Big ticket items like stonework and irrigation or grass removal and bed prep can be left to professionals, but you should be able to do a lot on your own with the right tools, determination and education. Even a simple sketch can transform your idea into a reality.

before and after…simple sketches can start the conversation 


If you would like more information on an educational consultation or landscape design for any where in zone 8A/B, please contact me at Lisalapaso@gmail.com. If you are looking for heat seeking, shade loving or edible plants and trees, Just keep surfing right here, because my pages are filled with them.

 

Happy gardening!

Lisa LaPaso

” Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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