Yolanda B's Property
Yolanda came to me with a desire to create a stately front yard that would benefit our native pollinators, while being easy to maintain and pleasant to stroll through. Her house has an almost Roman Villa vibe to it with a protracted approach, so I took inspiration from formal European garden disciplines with an eye towards symmetry and vertical height cascades.
Her property has wonderful panoramic views that we wanted to preserve and an impressive collection of existing native shrubs that we did not want to remove. My challenge was to come up with a design that added plantings strategically to make the yard feel cohesive and intentional while enhancing privacy, retaining native plants and preserving the stunning views. Yolanda also requested that my plant choices not take a huge amount of maintenance to look beautiful year round. We did some serious consideration of water-wise flowering plants and landed on a dozen favorites. I then arranged these by color at each height echelon of the yard as you move uphill towards the doorway. On the first level you'll be surrounded by yellow flowering shrubs, then purple and then red. To solve the privacy issue without creating a huge maintenance job, I lined the property with medium height evergreen trees, the California Juniper and the Fruitless Olive. These will stay green year round and create very minimal mess. They are also not very tall and will not impede the views.
Her other major concern was erosion. Yolanda's driveway and front yard are in the path of a wash that becomes a river every time the desert gets a good rain. To address this, I incorporated a variety of retaining walls strategically placed to manipulate the flow of the water away from her driveway and reduce erosion all across the yard and a handful of berms and swales to help catch water along the way and preserve it for plant use. I added a french drain to the very base of her driveway, and lined the bottom of the yard with a rain garden. Rain gardens are dug down gardens densely planted with deeply rooted native plants to harvest the rain. Yolanda had this to say about her experience working with me:
"Nisha Maxwell is a pleasure to work with. Throughout the process of designing a landscaping plan for my front yard she has been very attentive to my wants and needs. Her knowledge of native plants is impressive and her research is unmatched. She's very professional and punctual. I will definitely ask her to design a plan for my backyard and highly recommend her services."