Gardening with a Natural Look in Mind



And how to create an outdoor space like this on your own.

This front yard is a perfect example that drought tolerance isn’t exclusive to cacti and succulents. In fact, many grasses, shrubs, and flowers can be great water-wise choices, especially when native plants are incorporated. This garden packs a punch with a variety of plants that give it a wild, natural look, while dedicating a large portion to hardscaping as ground cover. Decomposed granite and rocks are used in a beautiful and styled way, highlighted by lighting at night. The surrounding space with large shrubs and trees, like an olive tree, brings height to the space, and grasses, rosemary, and purple lantana bring color and dimension. Lastly, the large planter on the porch gives style and life to an often-forgotten part of a front-yard landscape and can easily be changed throughout the seasons. 

Some tips for the home gardener

  • Make sure to research your gardening zone and pick the right plants for your area to maximize their success. 
  • At a neighborhood nursery or garden center, you can easily find dedicated spaces and staff knowledgeable about native and drought-tolerant plants.
  • This look demonstrates how plants will fill in the space as they grow. With a little patience, a home gardener can save on buying less mature plants that will fill in as they grow, and put those savings into hardscape and lighting. 
  • In creating your design don’t forget to consider how you want your garden to shine at night. The use of lighting, both hardwired and solar-powered, can add another layer of interest to your garden.

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Laura McLean
Laura McLean
Laura McLean is a native San Diegan who is the plant expert co-owner of Sweet Seedlings, and has spent over 20 years working for a nonprofit and as a marriage and family therapist. She has transformed her yard into an urban vegetable and pollinator garden, and strives to connect mental health, self-care, and a commitment to our earth with every seed she sows.
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