PATIO OPTIONS

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There are so many creative choices when it comes to the foundation of your patio. It really just depends on the look you are trying to achieve, the purpose your patio will serve and keeping some continuity between your yard and house design. Your choice of materials depends on all of the above. I did want to show you a few of those options over the next few weeks. These images show you some examples of textured, colored, stamped concrete. The other incorporates fake grass in-between the concrete. It offers a very dramatic visual effect with the patterns.

Patios

Colored – Textured –  Stamped Concrete

Let me know if you have a favorite or have any questions about the functionality of each product.

Bruce Larsen

Larsen Landscape

Have it done right the first time

OUTDOOR BBQs – COVERED PATIOS FOR ALL TYPES OF WEATHER

Bruce Larsen Landscaping

It is always that time of year in Southern California. Even our rainy days we can be outside with the steaks cooking or the vegetables grilling. I consider this the California lifestyle. On that note, I wanted to share one landscaping design idea for a covered patio with a built-in barbecue – kitchen. If you have the space and the love of a good char on your food this or something similar could be yours. The covered patio will protect you from the strong southern sun and the downpours we anticipate with our el neno year.

Outdoor Kitchens; Built in BBQs; Outdoor Counters; Barbeques; Outdoor Gas Grill

Outdoor Kitchen – Covered Patio

 

 

 

Bruce Larsen

Larsen Landscape

Have it done right the first time

LANDSCAPE DESIGN – MINIMAL WATER

Bruce Larsen Landscaping

As you may imagine, lately we have been receiving a number of requests from out clients for alternate landscapes. That is, landscape designs that use a minimal amount of water.

Here are a few examples of this kind of approach:

One obvious answer to no water use at (not to mention no maintenance either) is synthetic lawn. Some of the faux lawn material available now is almost indistinguishable from natural grass. The photo above is a fine example of synthetic lawn.

The dry riverbed look can also be eye-catching. Usually, this pairs with wood chip mulch and a drip or bubbler sprinkler system to avoid water waste. Some of the more native style plants require rather drastic pruning once a year since they grow prolifically when given a steady source of water — even a small amount.

Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Note the use of decorative rock to cover the ground. We also use a weed control fabric underneath. This not only keeps the weeds out, but also helps to prevent evaporation of our precious water.

Hope you like these ideas. Check out our photo gallery of Drought Tolerant Landscaping for more ideas.

 

Bruce Larsen

Larsen Landscape

 

WATER-WISE TIPS FOR REVAMPING YOUR LAWN

Bruce Larsen Landscaping

Hardy, drought tolerant landscape.

Hardy, drought tolerant landscape.

TIPS FOR REPLACING YOUR LAWN

We have done quite an few low water requirement gardens over the last  several months. Here are some tips for removing a thirsty lawn and replacing it with hardy drought tolerant plants.

Killing your lawn with plastic sheets is not that best idea if you plan to replant the area with new, drought tolerant plants. It kills the soil as well. So, if you want you new plants to thrive you can dig up the lawn. Use shovels to remove the grass. You’ll want to water the soil and give it about a week to see if anything sprouts back up. If so just repeat the digging and watering process till no more growth. You can also use a mulch that is more organic than plastic in that it breaths. This method has a longer processing time, I’d say about six months of waiting. Use 1 or 2 layers of cardboard to place over the entire area. You can buy rolls of cardboard which is easy to lay over the area but it is a little thin and therefore is easily punctured.  The other option is old cardboard boxes. You’ll just need to gather enough to cover the entire area. You could make friends with all the new neighbors and offer to help them dispose of their moving boxes. So step one is to get the cardboard down and then top that with a thick layer of compost appx 2 inches thick all over. Once the compost is down then you’ll want to add the next layer which would be wood chips. The wood chips should be thicker than the compost. After the six months the cardboard will have decomposed and you can plant right into your new, rich soil mix.

Check out Debbie’s new books on Amazon.com “Top Ten Drought Tolerant Trees for Residential Landscapes”

Have a great week.

Bruce Larsen

Larsen Landscape

 

Outdoor Kitchen with Patio Cover

OUTDOOR KITCHENS

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Outdoor Kitchen with Patio Cover

Outdoor Kitchen with Patio Cover

I think there is nothing better than the perfect outdoor kitchen. Its like roughing it but yet convenient. Grilling means getting that

Simi Valley - Outdoor Kitchen

Simi Valley – Outdoor Kitchen

perfect char – making the lines just right. And dinning alfresco with family and or friends is just part of the spring and summer fun. I thought I’d share some BBQ and outdoor kitchen ideas so you could start planning for your summer outdoor cooking adventures.

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

SPRING IS ALMOST HERE

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Since it is just a few short weeks until Spring officially arrives, I though I’d share with you some photos of fun projects. I hope these photos inspire you in you landscaping plans.

Thousand Oaks - Firepit with a View

Thousand Oaks – Firepit with a View

Spring still has a chill in the night air so here’s a way to warm up and relax with friends and family, custom designed firepits.

Thousand Oaks Firepit

Thousand Oaks Firepit

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

SUCCESSFUL ENTRYWAY

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Simi Valley = Wide Welcoming - Brick Entryway

Simi Valley = Wide Welcoming – Brick Entryway

Here is an example of warm and inviting front entry in Simi Valley. The brick work adds rich tones to a home with a neutral color pallet. This home features a wide welcoming brick stairway. It also invites visitors to  sit and relax with cafe seating and shade (or protection

Simi Valley - Welcoming - Brick Patio

Simi Valley – Welcoming – Brick Patio

from the rain).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

WATER WISE

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I thought you might like some water saving inspiration as we’ve had barely a sprinkle of rain all winter here in Southern California. Here are some flowering plants that thrive in hot, dry areas and are drought tolerant.

Island Bush Poppy – This is an evergreen shrub that is native to California. It produces yellow flowers in spring or when it gets just a bit of

Thousand Oaks Rock Garden with Drought Tolerant Plants

Thousand Oaks Rock Garden with Drought Tolerant Plants

water. It is a very hardy plant that will stand up to extreme heat and a bit of frost.

Thousand Oaks - Statice Growing Along Stairway

Thousand Oaks – Statice Growing Along Stairway

Statice – This is an easy to grow annual plant that is known for its papery flowers. It is very drought tolerant and thrives in hot sunny spots.

Evening Primrose – A perennial California native plant. It grows flat on the ground and has fragrant pink-white flowers from Spring to Fall. It does need water on occasion but is very hardy.

Hummingbird Sage – A perennial California native plant. This plant likes full sun or partial shade. It is extremely drought and frost tolerant making it easy to grow.

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

 

 

USING TILE IN LANDSCAPE

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Using tile in your landscape design can add a pop of color and interest to your yard. Glazed tiles are a durable product and  hold up to the elements very well

Tiled BBQ Area

Tiled BBQ Area

BBQ with tiled counter

BBQ with tiled counter

including the rays of the sun.

I have included some BBQ areas where tile was used. The photo to the right includes the patio seating area where the umbrellas, used for shade match the tiles of the BBQ counter. This makes for a unified, look that is soothing and inspires relaxation. I hope this inspires you.

 

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first tiime

PATIO COVERS

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Rain in Southern CA is not the norm but none the less you can enjoy outdoor entertaining in any conditions. The key is equipping your patio with a cover. A patio cover provides protection period. It will not only allow you to BBQ even in the rain but also keeps the sun’s rays off your skin while providing shade.

Simi Valley - Patio Cover

Simi Valley – Patio Cover

I have included a couple of shots of a large patio and cover. This was a custom job done in Simi Valley. This cover is solid, not like the slatted covers which provide diffused sunlight, this one provides full protection. It also has a ceiling fan to circulate the air

Full Covered Patio - Simi Valley

Full Covered Patio – Simi Valley

which helps in the heat of summer.

I thought these photos might inspire you in planning your future patio. The options are endless and can be tailored to taste and space.

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

CURB APPEAL

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When driving around different neighborhoods, it is always interesting to see the variety and creativity of the homeowners. This is especially

FRONT YARD DESIGN

FRONT YARD DESIGN

obvious in subdivisions where the houses are all a very similar model yet the front yard design makes each house unique.

 

I wanted to share here some of our front yard make overs. We enjoyed creating them and the home owners and neighbors love the design.

I have included two different designs one is focused on the plantings and paving stones and the other uses the driveway as a design element with plants to soften the look.

Stone Entryway

Stone Entryway

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

 

GARDENS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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We are fast approaching spring in Southern California I thought this time I would share with you some low water alternatives for you yard. This

Camarillo Low Water Native Plants

Camarillo Low Water Native Plants

year especially, we have record low rainfall in the area. In earlier posts I have reviewed and shown the value of artificial lawns which have come such a long way from the

Drought Tolerant Native Plants with Seating Bench

Drought Tolerant Native Plants with Seating Bench

AstroTurf of the 70s.

I thought you might like to see a creative approach to landscaping for a desert climate.  I hope these photos inspire you in some way.

 

 

 

 

Water Friendly Landscape

Water Friendly Landscape

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

COLOR ANYONE

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Ornamental Planting

Ornamental Planting

I was looking through our photos recently and thought these would be appropriate to share at this time. When the weather kicks into spring mode it is amazing how fast the leaves fill in and the flowing plants start showing up. The other morning I spotted a tree in full bloom with little white flowers covering the entire tree. It looked like popped popcorn. That is a sure sign we are into spring.

 
Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time

WELCOME 2014

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Wow, it’s already 2014. I remember sitting in a movie theater watching 20o1 when it first came out and thinking how “futuristic” things might be down the road. That same year I remember helping my dad plant some hedge bushes in our yard and strangely enough we are still planting shrubs in exactly the same way.

Camarillo Property 2013Of course now we have smart phones and even smart fridges as well as computer chips in our cars and none of that seems strange. The irrigation systems are fancier now and the idea

Covered Patio with Outdoor Kitchen

Covered Patio with Outdoor Kitchen

of having a built-in BBQ entertainment center is not unusual at all, but honestly, I like the fact

that there is an old fashioned nature to the kind of work we do here in the future.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

 

Bruce Larsen
Larsen Landscape
Have it done right the first time