Natural Order

The streetscape here was designed to combine naturalistic planting arrangements, yet be structured to read at 30 miles per hour.

Note the variety in taller Yucca faxoniana and Rhus lanceolata, playing off the gray Leucophyllum zygophyllum.



This Nolina greenei and the boulders were installed, but happily, a Gutierrezia microcephala volunteered in between the boulders and has been allowed to stay. Extra rain water collects there, the boulder acting like a dam just like curb and paving edges act.


Those golden flowers are welcome, as is the irregular and planted arroyo tree, Celtis reticulata / Canyon Hackberry.

The latter tree is on the edge of the basin but rooted into it, which mimics its natural arroyo habitat.

But to get natural order in less than geologic time, or even 50 years, one needs to weed out the basins of invasive species, so the native seeding can establish.


To keep a diverse yet healthy and appealing biota for all, mindful yet proactive maintenance is key.

10/28/17 weather: 6437 / 0.00



Different methods use similar elements to create continuity.

Repetition, rhythm, massing, and echoes are just a few design principles among many. Design principles are easily and repeatedly observed in an array of creative fields that people respond to: visual arts, horticulture, and music included.

It is that simple!

Any design principles noted, in the below median or parkway?


Aristida purpurea, volunteered from the seeding specified on the plans, is now in its autumnal tan.

Agave neomexicana does the same within the parkway’s Aristida.



Nearby, Dasylirion wheeleri was repeated. Its color and spent bloom stalks, plus a similar look of Agave parryi, help unify the scene.


10/24/17 weather: 71 / 42 / 0.00

Care for What Can’t be Bought

When wild land is developed, plants once native to that site often recolonize the construction scars alongside new landscaping.

Can you see where that occurred below?


In arid desert (my examples) or even semi-arid steppes, conditions are especially harsh for that regrowth.

Some plants rapidly heal such scars, while others take decades, if at all. The concern here is plants native to the site, not invasives.

Purple Threeawn / Aristida purpurea var. longiseta is the golden-green carpet barely forming the reddish fringes and seed heads. A few Sunflower / Helianthus spp. are in there, plus some invasive annuals (kochia?). Areas of gold-flowering, mat-like Pectis angustifolia / Limoncillo are present, too.

This side of the road was mown or herbicided to eradicate the above natives, which control erosion better than gravel while providing other functions, habitat value, and aesthetics.


The Soaptree or Palmilla / Yucca elata were installed per plan, while natives alongside installed plants including the creosote bush stand were somehow not removed during road construction.


Often such recolonizing plants are considered attractive, but they aren’t for sale. People often ask me, “ooh, what’s that?” in admiration.

Those attributes demonstrate what such plants are: priceless.

Therefore, they should not be removed in the first place; if they are removed allow them to stay, but selectively weed out invasives.


On the opposite side of the street, the tan grass clumps are the same Purple Three Awn, but these don’t get eradicated and not a carpet.

What a difference and for the better, on the far side of the street.


While protecting areas from unnecessary disturbance is usually more economically-sound and better, site development disconnected to the land is where maintenance skill and client savvy really must meet.

9/6/17 weather: 89 / 64 / 0.00