Before we began this project it was a bare hill of dirt with one Rosemary plant growing on it. The home owners expressed a desire for a fire pit at the top with grape vines and vegetable boxes.
We created a design that incorporated low water, low maintenance California natives and Australian natives for the hillside with a landing area and path along the bottom of the hill.
The hill is deceptively steep and to prevent erosion we incorporated a loose tier planting plan for the mostly native plant material. Grasses at the bottom of the hill were planted in a pattern to create a weave aesthetic that can be seen from the lower patio. Olive trees were planted next to the upper fire pit to create a tasteful privacy screening.
Digging in the hillside proved to be very difficult. Instead of using a typical shovel or trowel for planting, the popular tool of choice was a small electric jackhammer. Shale and bedrock had to be excavated out from the bottom of the hill to create the landing area and lower walkway. We incorporated the excess shale and bedrock into the design for the dry creek leading down to the water feature. We installed the natural rock wall to soften the jagged edges of the cut bedrock.
The shale and bedrock helped to make installing the Redwood decking and stairway difficult as well, but with the jackhammer of choice and a bit of determination it was completed
Today the gardens continue to thrive on the hillside attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. One of the many advantages of using low water natives is their ability to quickly establish in their first season of planting. These plants went from 1 gallon sized plantings to an established-seasoned garden in 8 months.