Times have changed. Ten years ago drought-tolerant landscaping was a tough sell. Clients wanted green, lots of it, and that meant water-thirsty lawns and trees. While some of that attitude still prevails, landscapers are increasingly turning to drought-tolerant landscaping as a way to preserve resources and save costs. It’s a good thing. January and February of 2013 were the driest on record in California history and experts in climate change think that big, intense wildfires will become the new normal.... MORE >
What do you call a landscape architect who understands how to design memorable environments that are also constructible and highly functional spaces? The answer is Gregory Ray. Greg recently came to ValleyCrest from the home building industry where he led the landscape program for a major home builder. Prior to earning his degree as a landscape architect, Greg founded a landscape construction company to earn his way through college. With over 30 years of experience, Greg has found his passion in reintroducing an attractive native plant palette in drought prone communities throughout the Southwest and Western regions.
A native to the San Joaquin Valley, Greg learned the value of conserving water at a young age, which has become more important to him over the years as he has watched the valley transform to adopt a form less conducive to runoff capture and more water dependant. Greg is a member of ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects). In his spare time he consults to cities and public agencies on converting public spaces to native plant material, plays soccer with his kids and enjoys the beauty of the great outdoors.
Water Smart garden design is easy. Below are a few basics that can make any garden Water Smart. By incorporating these basics, success will come easy to those who take on the challenge. Water-smart landscapes are not rock and cactus. A well-designed Xeriscape landscape should look like it belongs in any popular home and gardening magazine. Additionally, you don’t need to totally redo your yard to achieve substantial water savings. Many simple ideas can be incorporated into your existing landscapes.... MORE >
The number one reason we don’t we use permeable walkways and trails more throughout our communities – potential for water damage. Letting Water Slip Through the Cracks A large part of why we have no water in southern California is we don’t capture and store it when we do have it. Paving the land with impervious surfaces (roadways, sidewalks, etc.) is the primary reason we don’t have the ability to store rain water efficiently. Part of the answer is to... MORE >
As populations move into undeveloped areas, we need to be cognoscente of Mother Nature. We must remember that nature will eventually win out if we move in the opposite direction. Why not accept nature and utilize its best qualities to make our lives more fulfilled? A regenerative landscape, or one that gives back, seems to be the key. Because each native plant has different needs and habits, it fills a particular ecological niche. The right combination of plants keep diseases from... MORE >
California water use and availability is “not sustainable”. Due to recent rainfall, we have an abundance of water available. But, it’s important to remember that Southern California is a desert and it won’t be long before we see drought conditions again. Rather than wait for supplies to deplete, it’s important that we take necessary steps to conserve and use water wisely. Panelists were brought together to cover this topic from a variety of angles. I was there to focus on... MORE >
Most people are familiar with the idea of rain storage from the roof, into a cistern or container of some sort, then utilized for plant watering. There are many ways we can retain water on our residential properties that are both efficient and beautiful. With rain barrels, we capture water to be used for indoor and outdoor watering needs. If you want to install a water barrel, begin with installing or adjusting gutters from your roof line. Make sure your barrel... MORE >
For those of you in the Los Angeles area who are interesting in sorting out the new water legislation, there will be a breakfast session conducted by the Urban Land Institute Los Angeles Chapter focusing on AB 1881 and the LID ordinance and yours truly will be on the panel of speakers. My fellow panelists include moderator Vanessa Delgado from Primestor Development, Paula Daniels, Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works and Marsha Prillwitz, Water Consultant. Often legislation... MORE >