This is the fourth and final story in the series we named Planting the New California Garden. Throughout 2017 we’ve been highlighting the work of APLD designers to illustrate practical water-use data beautifully brought to life in a finished landscape. Our series is funded in part by a grant from the Saratoga Horticultural Research Foundation.
In 2013, Kelly Kilpatrick began work on this drought-tolerant garden in Tiburon, California. The property is on a hot, south-facing slope with a view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The decomposed granite pathways echo the brown tones in the borrowed view of neighboring hillsides. It’s a challenging location and the topsoil is thin—rocks and gravel lie just under the surface.
Kelly’s clients are gardeners who hired her when they needed help designing the garden, selecting drought-tolerant plants, and adapting the site for wildlife habitat—particularly for quail, but also to provide pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies. The homeowners planted Arctostaphylos, coffeeberry, oaks, and buckeyes; the rest of the plantings consist of more than 95 percent California natives.
The homeowners push the barriers of drought tolerance and keep detailed water usage records. Plants receive just enough water to survive using a drip system and are often allowed to go dormant. Many of the plants that reseed, such as clarkias, grow on rainfall alone.
To learn more about the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) database go to ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS and familiarize yourself with the user manual and begin investigating the water needs of your favorite plants in your region.
Kelly Kilpatrick got her degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been creating gardens since 2000. Kelly designs with a strong sense of composition and a painterly eye toward planting. She specializes in:
Drought tolerant gardens
Fun and unusual plantings
Floradora Garden Design