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Blog for landscaping tips, ideas, and trends!

Authored by Steve Letz

Contemporary Outdoor Living Spaces

I always appreciate a true challenge from a design perspective, especially when creating contemporary outdoor living spaces. My clients had a mostly unused backyard that featured mainly weeds on a fairly steep slope. There were two existing citrus trees that we decide...

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California Historic Drought is Over

Just recently California’s governor, Jerry Brown announced that the 6 year long California historic drought is over. We currently have 160% of what is considered “normal” for the amount of snow pack in out mountain regions. Amazingly, Californian’s reduced water by...

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Succulent Garden Ideas

Where does one start to create a new garden landscape using mainly succulents? Letz Design will share some Succulent Garden Ideas along with a few secrets and some recently introduced succulent plants. These plants are all the rage and will be for many years to come....

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Drought Tolerant Plants for San Diego

Drought tolerant plants for San Diego will continue to be a much talked about topic despite the drought being over! Here we are just 6 weeks into 2017 and after multiple rains in January, and along with a historic snow pack in the Sierras water governing officials are...

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Landscape Ideas For A Sloped Front Yard

With our varied topography in San Diego, a great majority of my clients have some element of a grade change on their property. Many of our communities are built on hillsides with terraced lots; one neighbor higher than the next. And very common is the backyard slope...

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San Diego Landscape Design-Build

Design-Build is an age old idea, whereas one entity takes on the scope of the design and construction. I talk to many people who feel they will only interact with only one person throughout this entire process. And, in some cases this seems like an acceptable...

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San Diego Outdoor Designs

Living in San Diego, we have so many options to explore as to how to use our outdoor spaces. For one individual, having a useful space to enjoy the outdoors, entertain or host family gatherings may be the impetus for a new design. Yet, others may want to amble through...

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San Diego Contemporary Landscape Transformation

Showcasing a recent San Diego Contemporary Landscape transformation, Letz Design Landscape illustrates the collaboration between client and the designer. In this project, the client had specific requests for gabions (wire cages holding rock) large expanses of...

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Contemporary Landscape Design in San Diego

Contemporary landscape design in San Diego seems to be on the rise. Perhaps in response to the current building boom of ultra-modern row houses and multi-family dwellings on in fill lots throughout the city. Or, it might also just be the latest trend in outdoor...

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Two Hour Landscape Consultation

Letz Design Landscape offers an economical approach to landscape design with a two hour landscape consultation. This is ideal for getting a taste of the design process. Also perfect for a very small project and a very simple design. In the past, projects have included...

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New Landscape Plants for 2016

Having recently enjoyed a nursery tour at Village Nurseries (wholesale only) highlighting several newly introduced plants, I’ve compiled a short list of what I consider to be the best new landscape plants for 2016. It was explained that it costs thousands of dollars...

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San Diego Backyard Designs

For more than 15 years, I’ve been involved in creating San Diego backyard designs for residential clients. I’ve seen a great deal of change in this time as we’ve moved into a more environmentally aware period. Certainly the recent drought has been a major influence in...

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Ornamental Grasses in San Diego Landscapes

One of the recent trends beyond the use of succulents for drought tolerant landscape design is the use of Ornamental grasses in San Diego Landscapes. Nearly all of my customers tell me “we want low water and low maintenance.” Well, sure I then proceed to tell them...

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San Diego Jasmine

Over the course of many years of creating new landscapes in San Diego, I’ve heard many clients inquire about  adding Night Blooming Jasmine to their yards. I have to then explain the differences between the Night Blooming Jessamine (or Jasmine) versus Star Jasmine...

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Repelling Dogs in San Diego Landscapes

I love dogs as much as most people do. And, I have many clients who want some creative landscape solutions for repelling dogs in San Diego landscapes. With neighbor's pets wreaking havoc on their newly installed plantings or their freshly manicured lawns. Of course,...

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High End Hardscapes

The newest high end hardscape products are from Bellgard . Known for their outstanding line of interlocking pavers, retaining wall systems and other outdoor living products, Bellgard has recently launched a new product line of porcelain pavers imported from Italy. To...

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Drought Tolerant Trees in San Diego

We need more shade! It is time to plant more drought tolerant trees in San Diego. San Diego really does have a void when it comes to tree lined streets. With our ever increasing temperatures (each year is hotter and hotter) the demand for more cooling is stronger than...

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Gopher Issues in San Diego Landscapes

Gopher issues are a huge problem for San Diego landscapes. Eradication seems to be a constant issue as so many settings have become overrun with these tenacious critters. Over the years, I heard various home remedies or old wives tales with suggestions on how to...

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New Hardscape Product for San Diego

I am happy to introduce the latest new hardscape product for San Diego We all love wood. Wood floors, decks, benches, railings, wood retaining walls, wood fences, etc. Wood is one of the most endearing of all the natural products in its versatility, adaptability and...

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San Diego Retaining Walls

Just the other day, a new San Diego client suggested adding new retaining walls to hold a slight slope near the sidewalk. Why? I questioned. She thought the definition would be a welcome element to her front yard. After all, the next door neighbor has one of masonry,...

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The Real Dirt on Artificial Turf in San Diego

So here’s the real dirt on artificial turf in San Diego. Not all turf is created equal! Many claim to be made in the USA, but few are. Many import the materials from  overseas and assemble it here under false pretenses. One brand Professional’s Choice Synthetic Turf,...

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Backyard Design for San Diego

For the past 15 years, I’ve been creating both front and backyard design elements for San Diego homeowners. A majority of my work has been renovating existing backyards for greater functional space as well as an aesthetic appeal. The number one element has to be the...

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Succulent Garden Ideas for San Diego

Perhaps the most forgiving of all plant species, succulents are like the “training wheels for a child learning to ride a bike” as to a novice gardener. They seem to thrive on neglect, receive very little water (we are in a serious drought – remember?). And best of all...

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San Diego Slope Planting Design

Slope Planting Design in San Diego We are so fortunate to have the variety of landscapes in Southern California. With numerous canyons carving out our terrain and more and more homes placed on hilltops or sides of larger inclines, therein lies the ongoing challenges...

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Landscape Architecture Recent Trends Survey

The American Society of Landscape Architects conducted a recent survey to chart the latest statistics of outdoor design trends for 2014. I have seen many of these elements of Landscape Architecture in San Diego. This survey looked directly at residential design in...

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Rocks for Landscaping in San Diego

As the cost of water continues to rise for San Diego homeowners the use of rocks in landscaping is on the increase. And it’s not a bad way to go, considering that rocks are permanent, have no care, require no water and look great when they are properly installed and...

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San Diego Landscape Ideas

Over the past several years, I’ve noticed a growing desire from most of my clients to truly invest in their outdoor living spaces. Despite the economic upheaval of recent years,  a majority of homeowners want to have a sense of quality in their end result. After all,...

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New Plants to use in a San Diego Landscape

I am happy to promote a variety of new plants for your San Diego Landscape. Recently introduced from the Monrovia nurseries, several outstanding plants are now making their way to local garden centers and to your own backyard. Monrovia plants are some of the best...

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Gardening in San Diego

Gardening in  San Diego, I've learned to look for certain things.  Over the years, I've seen a lot of things, in a variety of neighborhoods. I've seen the future! I've seen the future of you and  your family entertaining others outdoors with your new patio and built...

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Landscape Design In San Diego

One has to stop to think about the variety of elements that go into a landscape  with the Mediterranean climate of San Diego. A homeowner can implement his or her personal choice of styles, for example, Rustic vs. Formal, Contemporary or Traditional, English,...

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San Diego’s Purple Trees

I’m not sure why, but every year someone asks about purple trees in San Diego. It seems that the color purple is one of most noticeable colors in the landscape. Perhaps as such a vibrant contrast to green, purple and it’s cousins, burgundy or maroon have always held a...

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The Newest Lawn Alternatives in San Diego

The Newest Lawn Alternative is Lawn Last week I had the opportunity to learn about California Native Sod specially grown by the Delta Bluegrass Company of Stockton, CA. This is an extremely low water alternative to the conventional (fescue) sods typically used. Cal...

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Phasing Your Landscape

With 15 years of design experience in San Diego, I’ve seen some changes now that our economy is rebounding. Naturally, homeowners are much more cautious about spending their hard earned money. Creating a landscape design to be phased is the key. The desire for outdoor...

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Winter Blooming Plants in San Diego

What’s Blooming Early February in San Diego? Having the opportunity to be out on the road so much and thinking of all those poor souls who suffer winter weather with snow and cold, it amazes me how many winter blooming plants in San Diego are on display this time of...

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Water-Wise Landscape Design

Webster’s defines “Wisdom” as “accumulated philosophic or scientific learning; knowledge.”  Good sense and judgment are also mentioned. So you want your landscape design to become more Water-Wise. When it comes to saving water, science certainly does apply and common...

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Water Conservation with Landscape Design

It is time to enforce water conservation with landscape design as Southern California is having a heat wave this January. The rest of the country has recently dealt with a polar vortex, snowfall measured in feet, and a serious winter. And then there were tornadoes in...

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Sustainable Landscape Design

It’s a good thing to have dreams of a sustainable landscape design. As a Landscape Designer, one of my dreams is to create the perfectly sustainable outdoor spaces for a client, or maybe for myself one day. The overall theme of any sustainable garden is to minimize...

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Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit?

Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit? Congratulations, you’ve decided to treat yourself to a wonderful new feature to accentuate your outdoor living space. All too often I have clients tell me they can’t decide which option is best for them. So I have to interject with some...

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Using California Native Plants

Go Native! So why aren’t more people turning to the use of indigenous native California plants? Everyone who comes to San Diego is always so impressed with the landscape, neon color bougainvilleas, palms trees galore, those purple Jacaranda trees, star jasmine and...

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Lawn Versus Xeriscape

It's never to late to replace your thirsty lawn with a xeriscape. When a client wants to be environmentally conscious they will opt to remove all the lawn from their property, or maybe the front yard and reduce the lawn to a minimum in the back. I always have to...

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Hardscape Design Options

The most common and cost effective hardscape surface is concrete. Concrete has come a long way as it can now be “dressed up” with color, stains, textures, stamp patterns, and overlays. I typically tell clients I can guarantee that concrete will always crack sometime...

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Low Maintenance Plants for San Diego

It's true, there are many low maintenance plants available for San Diego landscape. All too often I talk to potential clients who want “no maintenance”…this is impossible as nearly every plant in the landscape has some requirements for ongoing care. And, I’m not a...

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