Luke Kalawsky has a passion for all things trees, plants, and landscape design. He has designed numerous landscapes as the head designer in the Surprise, Arizona region until he became a manager of our Central Phoenix Nursery. He now dedicates his knowledge, expertise, and creative capabilities to help the masses discover how to design, plant, and maintain their landscapes with his writings.
Knowing where to start in creating your dream California landscape or ideal backyard design can be a challenge.
As the nation’s largest box tree grower, we are always looking to help business and homeowners accomplish their landscape goals. Luckily, the nursery pros and professional landscape designers at Moon Valley Nurseries have years of experience in designing yards across the Southwest and California.
We took our greatest design techniques, tree care knowledge, and best landscape design ideas, and combined them together to give you the ultimate guide to creating your perfect California landscape!
Here is our list of the top 10 tips for California landscape design:
1. PLAN OUT YOUR FRONT AND BACKYARD DESIGN
Developing a plan for how you want to layout the front yard and backyard landscaping helps to give the design a vision to work towards. Without a solid design plan, your yard can quickly become cluttered and messy looking while missing the objectives of a beautiful landscape and augmented home appeal.
Your plan should seek to highlight preexisting areas or purposed spaces such as patios, pergolas, pools, and firepits. Arranging a row of trees on either side of your driveway or creating a tropical cluster of palms behind a pool water feature helps to further establish the features of your landscape that are already great.
2. CHOOSE A LANDSCAPE STYLE
A key part of creating a landscape design that inspires and generates great curb appeal is following a landscape style. Many homeowners will match their yard design to the style of their home. This helps establish a common theme, create curb appeal, and increase the value of your home.
An example of this would be if you have a Mediterranean style home then a complimentary Mediterranean landscape style using trees and plants such as Olive trees, Italian Cypress, and Mediterranean fan palms will create an attractive flow throughout the property.
3. PLANT THE RIGHT TREE AND PLANT SIZES
Be sure to select trees and plants to fit into the various areas of your yard. Selecting a tree for backyard shade that only matures into a smaller specimen or a trailing ground cover for a walkway hedge can lead to headaches down the road.
Our designers and nursery pros are happy to help plan out the tree and plant sizes for your design and make sure you will be happy with your landscape as your plant material matures.
4. PLANT FAST-GROWING SHADE TREES
In order to properly shade your home or backyard, you need trees that develop wide, umbrella-shaped canopies. These wide, lush canopies take time for shade trees to grow. To get cooling shade over your home and landscape as quickly as possible, it is important to choose trees that grow quickly.
Fast-growing trees will be able to provide a true shading effect to the home much more quickly than slower-growing varieties. At Moon Valley Nurseries, we have thousands of mature trees of the most popular shade tree varieties available right now ready for planting, so you don’t have to wait at all to start cooling down your home!
5. CREATE A PRIVACY HEDGE
A common landscape goal is achieving privacy or blocking unwanted sights or sounds. This can be accomplished easily and tastefully using privacy hedges or “living screens”. Planting hedge material that grows lush and thick will create a private barrier to the home and help to cool down the yard as well.
Our Hollywood-style Hedges™ are a popular plant option for creating the best privacy hedges.
6. DON’T USE TOO LITTLE OR TOO MUCH WATER
It is important to understand and consider the water needs of the various trees and plants in your landscape. By arranging plant material that has similar water requirements near each other, you ensure that your irrigation system is providing the right amount of water to those trees and plants, without wasting water.
7. USE MULCH AROUND TREES AND PLANTS
Applying mulch around the trees and plants in your landscape helps to cool off the roots systems as well retain moisture and help with deep watering practices. An added benefit of keeping a good layer of mulch around your trees and plants is that will help prevent weed growth and soil erosion.
8. UNDERSTAND HOW & WHEN TO FERTILIZE
All trees, palms, and plants in your landscape should be fed on a regular basis. This keeps your landscape strong and helps it fight off disease, insects as well as battle the elements such as heat and cold stress.
We recommend fertilizing March through October with our specialty line of fertilizers created specifically for our growing conditions. Throughout the year, we also recommend regular applications of Super Charged Moon Juice. This is a root enhancer that keeps the roots of your trees and plants healthy and growing while increase fertilizer and water efficiency.
9. KNOW HOW & WHEN TO TRIM TREES
Pruning and trimming your trees and plants is a bit of an art form to get right. Different varieties will require trimming at different intervals throughout the year, where others will benefit from a trim before a heavy storm.
It is important to research when to prune and trim the types of trees and plants you have in your landscape. Having that knowledge ensures you are performing trimming maintenance at the right times of the year and not causing unnecessary stress on your landscape.
As a general rule of thumb, it is important to never cut back more than two-thirds of the overall foliage of your trees and plants when pruning or trimming.
If you have other questions on how or when to trim and prune your trees and plants, you can contact one of our Moon Valley Nurseries locations and our nursery pros are happy to help. You can also check out our care guides for many local tree and plant varieties.
10. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
Getting all these details right the first time can be tough. Bringing in a professional landscape designer to take all the guesswork is one of the best decisions you can make what it comes to your landscape.
An expert designer will take into consideration your landscape goals, your style preferences, and the amount of effort you do or don’t want to put into upkeep and maintenance. They will marry all these factors together and create a design that fits you and your needs perfectly.
At Moon Valley Nurseries, we believe this is such an important part of discovering your dream landscape that we offer free in-store design consultations with our professional designers. Feel free to call your local designer today and schedule your personal landscape design consultation.