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Sacramento Home Spring/Summer 2016 : Page 79

What are some current trends in land-scaping? There’s definitely a push to remove lawns and install more drought-tolerant land-scapes. This, in turn, leads to the instal-lation of more low-water-use plants, like native and Mediterranean varietals, succu-lents and ground covers, and using gravel or hardscape instead of lawn. What are some current trends in hard-scape? I’m seeing a lot of interest in moving away from heavy aggregate finishes on concrete and toward a more subtle sand finish, which is achieved by etching or sandblasting. People are also moving away from brick and going A former art teacher and more artist, with Roberta Walker traded in stone—like bluestone, made her paints for plants because 18 years it’s ago after in helping out at a the United States, and is more affordable and friend’s nursery becoming fascinated with all things comes infinite options. It’s a nice flora. in As such, her landscapes are stone artistic and beautiful. to They’re work with. also largely drought friendly. Sunset magazine captured her knack for water-wise gardens in 2009, What is it your best design trick? when featured Walker’s own yard, a quarter acre in the Arden Arcade area that functions solely For yards, I like to create layers using on front a drip system. Having designed more than a 1,000 subtle landscapes elevation change, like a step a in the region, the or principal of half-wall, break Landscape up the yard Design into smaller Roberta to Walker is known spaces like outdoor areas. when for creating a full, sitting rich look that So suits what you look at the house, not just lawn her clients want and it’s what the landscape all the way up. lots And of it makes things begin allows—with color throughout to every feel more private as you approach the season. house. I also like to take materials that the architect used on the house and incor-porate them into the landscape to create continuity between the house and the landscape. or Home Depot. High Hand Nursery is beau-IS THE LAWN DEAD FOR GOOD IN tiful, too. Panama Pottery is a quirky little CALIFORNIA? What is your favorite sustainable material place where I get hard-to-find, unique stuff I hope so. California, unfortunately, has not to work with right now? at great prices. And because mulching is key been good about conserving. There are for drought landscaping, I go to Carol Jones, literally millions and millions of acres of lawn Gravel. People often don’t identify gravel who I call Carol the Compost Lady. I give her consuming millions and millions of gallons of as something that they would want in number out all the time: (916) 397-2854. water. We also have a Mediterranean climate their yard, but there are many different with no rain in the summer, so lawns do not sizes, textures, colors and shapes that can OFFER SOME ADVICE ANY HOMEOWNER belong here. You don’t see them in New complement the planting and hardscape COULD USE. Mexico or Arizona. There are so many more elements. It doesn’t take any water, and Most people are either letting their lawn die, beautiful ways to go. And as the capital city, it’s generally a locally sourced material. thinking about letting their lawn die, or have I think Sacramento should be a model for already ripped it out. Before you do anything, using plants that fit our region and climate. When it comes to landscape design, what create a plan. A design. You can’t just take gives you the best bang for your buck? out a lawn and start dotting plants every-HOW HAS THE DROUGHT AFFECTED where. It would be a mess. Keep flow in mind. WHAT YOU DO AND WHAT CLIENTS WANT? A thoughtful planting plan can do won-For example, I’d say 90 percent of homes I’ve been busier than ever. I’ve been pulling ders for a yard. Plants are relatively inex-have a driveway with a pathway at the top out lawns for years. But before the drought, pensive and can act as a screen or define leading to the front door. Keep that flow in it wasn’t about water; it was about mow-an outdoor room, and they don’t incur the mind when planning out additional pathways ing. Now, it’s about water conservation, same cost as hardscape. Cost-wise, three or mounds. Having a plan before doing any-and everyone who’s coming to me wants a of my favorites are deer grass, Yaku Jima thing else will also help you better calculate water-wise design. When I do work with lawn, silver grass and Hameln fountain grass, all the materials you’ll need. I use a blend that takes 50 percent less water, because they fill in so quickly. In one sea-so you can have your cake and eat it, too. son, you get a phenomenal change in size. WHAT ARE SOME SACRAMENTO-FRIENDLY PLANTS? WHAT ARE SOME COOL GARDEN Rosemary, lavender, salvias, yarrow, pittospo-RESOURCES YOU CAN RECOMMEND? rum, lantana, black-eyed Susans, Kniphofia Peaceful Valley’s website,, (also known as red hot poker flowers), dwarf is a great resource for all types of gardens. agaves and a lot of ornamental grasses. Juni-Locally, Green Acres is an all-star. They revo-pers have a bad rap. But when done correctly, lutionized the nurseries out here by really ed-they are great. ucating people. You can’t get that at Lowe’s Spring/Summer 2016 SACRAMENTO HOME Roberta Walker 79

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