San Leandro: Color for All Seasons

Designer: Jennifer Smith, The Greensmith
Location: San Leandro, California
Sunset Zone: 15

When asked, the owner of this corner lot expressed a desire to transform her yard into a “low-maintenance, drought-tolerant retreat.” Designer Jennifer Smith responded with a plan that layers planting to increase privacy and create the illusion of depth.

Jennifer agreed with the owner that incorporating the existing mature, healthy trees would add complexity to the planting as the new plants fill in. The plant palette is composed largely of northern California native plants, along with some herbs and exotic NON-invasive drought-tolerant plants. An annotated plant list with links to further information accompanies the plan, along with a comprehensive, yet simple, drip irrigation plan.

Design Tip: Think about seasonality—meaning don’t just plant for spring flowers. In our Mediterranean climate, you can have flowers year-round! In addition to flowering plants, incorporate plants with good fall color, sculptural trees that look even better without their leaves, and evergreen plants to create a dynamic planting that creates on-going visual interest in response to changes in season.

About the Designer: Jennifer Smith has been Bay-Friendly Qualified since 2007. She founded The Greensmith in 2001, on the belief that a successful landscape is more than pretty plants in pretty arrangements. This means doing the research, the hand-dirtying and the technical work of assessing the space from the soil and microclimate to the client needs and architecture. Only when this sound foundation is in place can spontaneity and creativity bring a sustainable landscape to life.