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A planting style that you find in successful gardens is ‘sculptural' plants mixed with soft foliage and flowers. Here are some tips about how to do it well.

Digging Dog Nursery - Southern California gardening source, garden blog, California garden, garden California, garden ca, California plant and flower, garden newsletter, planting garden, plants, California landscape, patio gardens, garden tools, garden design, Cindy McNatt

Agave attenuata (fox tail agave) - Native to Mexico; Zones 9 to 15; height 4 to 5 feet; part shade to full sun. Agaves are known for the large spines on their leaf margins, but A. attenuata has smooth leaves, making it a safer garden choice. Though the plant flowers and dies at maturity, it spends its life producing large colonies of offsets (called pups).

I wish that Casuarina 'Cousin It' was available in the US, but I suppose a similar look could be attained with other shrubs.

Verbena bonariensis (tall verbena) - Native to South America; Zones 7 to 11; height 2 to 5 feet; full sun. A popular and useful garden plant with purple flowers throughout the season. In colder climates, tall verbena behaves as a self-seeding annual.

Be Climate-Conscious Horton recommends growing regionally appropriate plants: those that are native to your area or have similar growing requirements to those of natives, and that will thrive on natural rainfall. At the Nashes’, she planted the drought-tolerant succulent Calandrinia spectabilis, which can bloom profusely from spring through fall, alongside a low, wide clipped hedge of the Australian native Westringia fruticosa.

Plant Trees “While trees need regular water initially, they are far less thirsty than a lawn and don’t need much water once established,” says Horton. Plus, they create cool, shady areas, which helps with water needs in the long term. Horton added more than 20 trees to the Nashes’ garden, including California sycamores, olives, and birch trees, shown here. To complement the white bark of the birches, she underplanted them with the Japanese anemone ‘Honorine Jobert,’ which blooms in fall.

Rethink the Lawn When a couple wanted to reduce the water consumption in their Southern Califoria garden, they turned to landscape designer Judy M. Horton. Here she shares the best practices for creating a beautiful, water-wise garden, wherever you live. In its need for water, a lawn is similar to a gas-guzzling car. Horton removed most of it here, leaving only a portion in the backyard. In its place she expanded the planting beds, and she gave the remaining lawn a new shape by adding trees…

A Mix of Greens - The garden's signature mix of textural green-, silver-, and blue-leaved plants provides all-season interest.

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