Backyard Install


University Heights, CA


October 2018

Upon initial inspection, to call GG’s garden “depressing” would have been an understatement. The “lawn” had been taken over by nutsedge; the “flower” beds were run over with weeds and what plants she had left were overgrown, misshapen and unsightly.

Recent health setbacks had kept GG from tending her once lovely garden for quite some time. Feeling much better, she sent me an S.O.S.
Our eccentric and self-described “difficult” client had high hopes for recreating this space into a succulent work of art. As luck would have it, that’s my superpower, so with Team DFS by my side, we dug in!

Eliminating the nut sedge proved to be a challenge. We scraped, tilled, raked, poisoned and suffocated and it still came back! Weed barrier was a must and the last resort, so we painstakingly laid it everywhere.

Next came 10 yards of amended topsoil which we moved into undulating mounds. 25 two cubic foot boulders were next. Once placed, the garden began to take shape. With a cooperative hardiness zone and succulent-favorable microclimates, by day two of this six-day install, the midtown succulent garden was well underway!

After staging some large specimen plants, we got to work installing a huge and stunning tapestry that extends the length of the garden! ​

GG favored dark, smooth rock, so my topdressing included a cubic yard of polished river rock which I used as a ribbon to visually connect all of the garden elements.

Broken Talavera pottery and a ceramic rooster were two of many sentimental elements that GG challenged me to incorporate into my design.

The completed garden was beyond GG’s wildest expectations and, on a personal note, I didn’t find her to be difficult at all. ❤️


Keep scrolling to see the step by step transformation.

University Heights - Day 1
University Heights - Day 2
University Heights - Day 3
University Heights - Day 4
University Heights - Grand Reveal
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© 2017 Design for Serenity