Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Landscape Design Austin

If you are looking for a residential landscape designer to provide you with a design, installation instruction and education about your landscape, you are in the right place. I am a Landscape Designer, a Master Gardener and native plant specialist/water conservationist who loves the Texas flora. I am in love with what I do and am proud to have been organic before it was cool and in business in Austin for over 15 years! I use plants that are native or adapted to our area, I am forward thinking about conservation, sustainable materials and creative solutions to spaces small and large. I consider myself an artist as well as a gardener of 20+ years and I pride myself on low water low maintenance gardens. Here are some examples of my work.

Xerophytic and Edible

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Modern/Contemporary

Before / After

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Informal

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Mediterranean and Tuscan

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Hill Country

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Deer resistant landscape, Austin

Formal

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Low Water

 

Tropical

 

 

Solutions for every challenge and a style to fit every budget.

 

My goal is to create a space that speaks to you and the lifestyle you want to live. Let me help you visualize your ideas into a low maintenance, low water landscape.

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This is what a native and adapted plant palate looks like. This is my version of Xeriscape. You can choose to have a few plants with space between them or a rainforest. What matters are the plants you choose. That’s my specialty.

 

Hand drawn designs built to scale with plant list and instruction. Here is more information on Design and Consultation pricing.

 Call or text me at 512-733-7777, or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com to schedule an appointment.

Belinda’s Dream Rose

This full sun, 5’x 5′ shrub rose is one I have coveted for many years and never had the room for, so when I moved in late 2015 it was one of the first plants I used and I found just the right spot for it.

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Belinda’s Dream is an “Earth Kind Rose” which are roses that are tested in Texas for being drought tolerant, low maintenance and disease resistant. This one is a true superstar in the Austin Texas landscape and while I’m not necessarily a big fan of pink, this rose just makes me happy. I have it right out my back door so I can take in the view; which by the way, lasts from late February to the first hard freeze.

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It is obvious to see there is a lot to love about this rose and for the rose lovers who have given up on roses because of all the maintenance, this is an excellent choice. Once a year you shape it and remove dead wood if any, compost, done. You can remove spent flower heads to encourage more flower production through the season, but this shrub will continue to produce regardless.

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The blooms on this rose are enormous and vary in size and shape even on the same bush. This rose requires full sun, compost each spring, and proper planting. Over all is if very little maintenance, works great in a low water garden and blooms profusely from spring to fall.

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Unfortunately, this variety has no real distinctive scent but it does have a light fragrance and makes for beautiful cut flower arrangements with its long stemmed clusters of large blooms.

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If you have a full sun space with enough room for this beauty, I highly recommend this rose. It is an excellent specimen plant as well as an excellent hedge row as long as you do not over trim or plant too close together. Roses don’t like to be crowded and they don’t like to be over buried. Be sure to allow enough room for each rose to grow to mature height and width, then compost the beds each spring for additional blooms. I don’t recommend any chemicals fertilizers but I do love liquid seaweed and find it to be an excellent “one stop shop” of fertilizer and stabilizer. Here is the proper planting technique for roses.

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Roses are best planted over the winter months and will be widely available then. Be sure when making rose selections to check for your hardiness zone which in Austin is zone 8b and be sure whenever possible to look for Earth Kind roses.

For more great plant suggestions, planting instructions and design, contact me at lisalapaso@gmail.com or 512-733-7777 for a Landscape Consultation or Design service.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

“Can Someone Just Tell Me What to Plant?”

Yes! Yes, I can! There really is a solution this easy, call me and I will help you find the right plant for the job or the right solution for a problem. A landscape consultant can provide you with a list of plants that will thrive in odd spaces to an entire design from scratch. If you own a home, you should have a landscape consultation. Before you pay a single penny to a contractor or do it yourself, you should have a landscape Consultation for design and plant suggestions that fit your budget and add value to your home.

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Evergreen Wisteria, spectacular bloom almost all summer long, low water and reaches to 25′. morning to mid day only, part sun is the perfect spot for this one.

I have over 20 years experience with Texas native and adapted, low water, low maintenance plants and I LOVE what I do. Each property is like a beautiful puzzle and I believe I have found the secret to the most successful landscapes and I’ll give you a few reasons why.

1) I listen, and I look at “your” space: During our plant/landscape consultation you have my full attention, I’m not a nursery attendant half listening while walking fast and finding a plant I know I have in stock. I am giving you solutions from experience in the Central Texas landscape. I have been a Personal Gardener both professionally and personally, as well as an installer, designer and consultant for over 20 years. I know plants and those that “really” thrive here because I’ve had successful accounts all over the grater Austin area. The fact is, that while the plant the nurseryman chose may work in your light (might, being the operative word) they have never seen your soil, the topography, or the actual light in the heat of the day.

2) There is no such thing as a dumb question: I am there to answer them all through the whole process, not just at the check out. I am also not there to sell you anything; I am there to teach you how and what to bid on, what and when to plant, and how to prioritize your needs. Not only do you hear a wealth of information during our visit, but you will get follow-up instruction on what we discussed by email as well as information on plant, tree and lawn care, deer resistant and edible plants as well materials and vendors I prefer. I am rarely stumped by a question but I am often challenged, and from those challenges typically come the coolest solutions. Your questions allow me to grow as a consultant and designer so follow-up questions via email or text can be three years later if you’re still willing to learn.

3) There are no secrets: The techniques I have used for all these years are simple, user and environmentally friendly and go back thousands of years. Organic gardening with native and adapted plants and trees will thrive when planted in the correct space and soil, it is really that simple. Compost really will change your gardening life and the world. I have been telling people for years to think of their yards as the rain forest. Rather you like a lawn, cacti, or a lush jungle like me, the same rule is true; compost and organic protocols can make a world of difference in your long-term success. Let me make your life easier by sharing simple organic remedies for just about anything. I am a Master Gardener, Organic Certified, Oak wilt Certified and for over 20 years I’ve specialized in Central Texas plants and water conservation.

 

Don’t wait another minute to start creating the space you would love and deserve to come home to. I work with what you have, create on a budget, and use my years in the industry to teach you what you need to know for the greatest return with the least effort. A one hour consultation rate varies from $125 to $150 depending on distance and travel time. Contact me at lisalapaso@gmail.com or call or text me at 512-733-7777.  For more information, here is a list of my services.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

How do I fix an overgrown bed?

The best you can do honestly is to edit. With my landscape design and consultation clients I always encourage that existing trees and shrubs be saved at all costs when they are healthy and can be managed proportional to the space. Unfortunately, huge shrubs that eat up your homes entry or block all the sun from your windows, may not hold the same value they did when they were small and manageable. New plants that are the correct size for the space are also little to no maintenance.

Above, the left shows an over grown shrub that cannot be salvaged. It is best served that the outdated hedge row be removed to make space for the architecture of the home to take center stage. Now, the right side shows how huge that front porch is and you could even wave to your neighbors as they pass by.  Overgrown shrubs are a security problem, they encourage pests and take up unnecessary real estate. After my design, this front yard is updated and far more functional. The plants are small now, but in a short time they will be grown in and still be an accent, not a burden.

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The plants above are a perfect example of those that should also be removed. They are over shaped, over grown and over planted. There are actually 3 separate trees in the larger blob and the other is an over shaped Wax Myrtle that only has leaves on the outside of the shrub making it struggle to stay in the space, much less provide food from photosynthesis. I suggested the smaller one be removed and replaced with an appropriate sized plant , and the larger one be separated into one specimen that is properly trained as the small tree it should have been.

Above are some excellent examples of where I kept the large plants, then added all the small to medium–sized perennials in each bed. Additionally, I changed the shape of each bed to give them an updated design that was appropriate to the size of the home.  It is important to create layers between the lawn and your large shrubs and trees.

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This was a great way to adorn what was working in an otherwise unbalanced bed. By outlining it with river rock, the drainage is improved and a border outlines the bed as a specimen instead of an accident.

Sometimes it comes right down to editing. In the beds below, plants were removed that were over crowded and unsuccessful and replaced with more appropriate plants for the light and neighboring plants water requirements. Again, I changed the shape of the beds to allow enough room to layer from back to front.

In one short year the plants above will grow in to be layered with the older plants…like this.

Before, these beds were narrow along the house in a straight-line. They created right angles that limited the pool and sod design so we implemented the curved beds along with large square stepping-stones for a modern design with a Hill Country feel. This yard is home to many deer so obviously, I chose only deer resistant plants and trees for this space.

These oversized plants and trees have overstayed their welcome. The trees will do well with a raised canopy and no longer be a hazard for passers by, though the others are strict up liabilities. Stabby plants someone could fall against, blocking the view of incoming traffic, or someone’s driveway could cost you. If you aren’t sure how to lasso these babies in, call a professional for a trim, or call a consultant like me to teach you how, because in many cases you can raise the canopy of just about any tree or large shrub yourself and this blog should help. Remember that Xeriscape in Austin doesn’t have to mean Cactus, it just has to be plants that need low water.

Remember to embrace what you have that is working. Established , healthy shrubs have proven their worth so if they aren’t a hazard or eyesore, try to work with them.

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After installation

I kept the hedge rows that existed already, extended the beds and bordered them in river rock to make them pop. We added a few specimen trees to add height among the towering Oaks and you have an instant bed that looks like it’s always been there.

Hopefully this has inspired you to make some changes on your own. If you are in the Austin or surrounding areas and would like some help taking your space to the next level, give me a call or text me at 512-733-7777 to schedule a Landscape Design Consultation , or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design (like me on Facebook @lisaslandscape)

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

 

Plants Are People Too!

 

In more ways than you may know, this is true. It has been proven that plants have feelings, they feed one another and care for their elderly in the forest; they produce offspring for generations to come and for the most part, respect their mother.

Plants are far more advanced than we are is many ways. They are self sufficient in their natural state, communicate without words and protect each other and the planet as a whole. Plants are brilliant when it comes to self preservation so if you’re finding that your yard is “the land of the living dead”, I assure you, you’re making some crucial mistakes.

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Lisa laPaso, Lisa’s landscape

Plants and trees in nature live together symbiotically through a “Wood Wide Web” called mycorrhizal Fungi. This is the white fuzzy stuff you’ve seen below your mulch that you weren’t sure was kosher or not. It is, so next time you see it say thank you for the world you live on. It is part of a vast Eco system that lives below our feet. When we pollute our land with grass, chemicals, doggy doo and stomping feet, it needs a lot of love. Unlike those same trees and plants in nature, they do not receive nutrients from fallen flora and fauna (dead stuff), because we are too busy cleaning up the leaves and fallen debris and certainly don’t have dead animals hanging around. Our plants and trees are expected to keep producing off the of same ol’ soil for years and years then get nothing in return? I don’t think so…

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If you’re using chemicals of any kind, stop today. Promise you will go 100% organic whenever possible and your yard will be completely revived in less than 3 years. You start with compost, compost, compost. Every spring get a huge load of compost and spread that sh** everywhere! Beds get as much as you can afford to raise them. Lawn gets 1/-1/2 inch and trees get the same around each tree ring. Once your tree is two years old, you no longer need a berm (hump), you need a flat ring around the trunk at least 2 -3 feet, but prefer to have a foot extra for each foot of tree diameter. Compost will repair chemical damage, retain moisture and feed your plants, trees and lawn all year.

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Use only organic fertilizers and there are seriously too many to mention. Even the big box stores carry them now so you can find them most places or online at great resources like http://www.planetnatural.com. My super faves are liquid seaweed, liquid molasses, Medina products, Lady Bug products and so many more, and the more we support and prove these work, the more we evoke change. That’s a win, win right there.

There is no need to compost or feed plants over the winter, even the evergreens are sleeping above. That being said, what is happening in those beds? Are you replacing plants over and over and growing more weeds than the plants you want? Well if you have good soil and good planting techniques (be sure you do), then it comes down to poor plants choices. Plants for “sun” at the local big box might live in New Jersey sun, but it ain’t seen a Texas day it ever liked, I can tell you that for sure. Texas hot, it a whole nother level because it’s not just hot, it’s scalding. Plants suffer from the rays of the sun as well as the heat index. That means that plants in a Texas bed, need to be for Central Texas. In Austin and surrounding area we are zone 8. Here, sun means it can stand a minimum of 6 hours to thrive. Part sun traditionally means morning sun only and shade means dappled light and mostly shade with no direct sun.

Once you’ve determined your yards light requirements, prepared your beds and filled them with as much as 6 inches of a combination of native shredded mulch and compost, it is time to choose plants and trees! There is a plant for just about every space and if are looking for inspiration for Xeriscape, deer resistant and/or flowers and color for all seasons, there is a huge resource of information right here on my page, or my Facebook page, as well as many other great sites. If you’d like to just have someone pick out the plants for you, I can do that to. Contact me for a design consultation and I can teach you lots of great things in a short hour.

Just like people, plants need attention when they are in a microclimate like each of us have in our yards. Unlike the Wood Wide Web, our yards are disconnected from each other by chemical use, over watering and general neglect. The good news is, each space is unique in its topography and challenges. The kindest thing we can do for ourselves is embrace that and not fight it.  Add compost to your soil, never over water, use only organic fertilizers and pest control, and spend time in your yard. Take 10 minutes every few days to get to know your space, pull a few weeds and say hello to your green friends. They are great listeners and they never tell your secrets. Plants feel and absorb negative energy,  appreciate the value they add to your life and home and show them a little love; they’ll reward you 10 times over.

in the mean time, here is a little inspiration to get you excited!

 

 

I’m great friends with Mother Nature and I get what she’s preaching. Keep it simple, work with what you have, compost and feed each spring, don’t over water and choose the right plants for the space and light requirements. Choose plants for your hardiness zone and be sure you only plant during the proper planting seasons to assure the best results. Never over bury your plants and trees. In Austin we have rocks and clay, builders fill and compaction. Make your holes twice as wide and little deeper than the pot then add some compost to the fill. Make a small well around each plants and tree but never mulch over the plant base or tree root flair, this encourages disease.

Once you’ve implemented these simple techniques and timing along with organic protocols and the right plants, you’ll be better prepared to have a loving relationship with your space. If you want a head start or “cheat sheet” for your specific properties needs, call or text me at 512-733-7777, or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com to set up an educational or design consultation. I also provide full Landscape Designs to be implemented by a contractor, or a great long term tool for the do-it-Yourself home owner.

Lisa LaPaso

 

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”