Magazine article Sunset

Water-Stingy but Colorful Slope Garden in Santa Barbara

Magazine article Sunset

Water-Stingy but Colorful Slope Garden in Santa Barbara

Article excerpt

A dry garden with a water theme makes the most of this problematic site in Santa Barbara. In doing so, it also happens to address challenges faced by many Western homeowners a potentially disastrous drainage situation and a need to manage water precisely.

The house sits on a cliffside site that, improperly handled, could possibly slip. According to a geological report, water percolating deep into the soil could act as a lubricant and promote a slide. To avoid that risk, it was essential to provide perfect drainage and to landscape with plants that would require as little irrigation as possible.

That meant applying a minimum of water from sprinklers and draining or diverting a maximum during winter rains. Landscape architect Isabelle Greene converted the site's problem element water into its design theme. In the process, she also created a relaxed, low-water-use garden that establishes a pleasant, easy flow from the house to a spa halfway down the slope, then a water lily pond and the swimming pool below.

Even the lawn is drought tolerant

This landscape, including turf surrounding the pool, is water-stingy. All plantings, including the unthirsty St. Augustine lawn, are drought tolerant. …

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