Backyard Install


Carlsbad, CA


April 2017

This 500 square foot garden area right on the cliffs in Carlsbad, California is a designer’s dream come true. I mean, just look at that water feature!!


The garden already had a lovely flagstone walk path leading to a stone bench at one end of the garden and a fire pit at the other. The Dymondia margaretae ground cover was already established but the plants left a lot to be desired. Barbara, the homeowner, felt that, despite her efforts and those of a previous designer, the plants looked disjointed, one dimensional and, quite frankly, “ill”. (Read Barbara's Testimonial)


I quickly surmised that all existing plants needed to come out in order to make room for my Succulent Tapestries. Fortunately Barb readily agreed.


Since this coastal property sits right on the cliffs, there’s plenty of ambient moisture in the air, and temperatures are mild year round. This ideal setting means I can plant anything!

I chose an Aloe thraskii or sand dune aloe, as my centerpiece, and then built the bones of the garden from there. I needed to keep my choices low growing so as not to impact the jaw dropping ocean views. I chose Agave attenuata as these plants make a big statement without achieving much height. Other statement plants include Aloe plicatilis, Aloe dorotheae, Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’, Crassula aborescens, Agave ‘Blue Glow’, Aloe cameronii, and Echinocactus grusonii. I connected these statement plants with ribbons of low growing Tapestry specimens like Echeveria, Graptopetalum, Crassula, Senecio, Cotyledon, Aeonium and small Agaves.


I finished the landscape using burgundy ¾ inch lava rock. The dark red color contrasts beautifully against the green of the Dymondia. As a special touch, I spread criva, a finely crushed white marble rock, under the canopy of the Aloe thraskii, and then sprinkled an assortment of Barb’s sea shells across the top. A small bird bath holds blue fire glass for an added “pop.” Decorative pots are placed throughout the design and grouped in the patio areas.

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© 2017 Design for Serenity