A great example of a modern formal landscape. Stillwater is a recently built property- which come with their own set of challenges.
This property was built on heavy clay soil. Working with soil in these conditions can be very difficult when planting annuals and small perennials. Heavy clay soils tend to be very alkaline with high PH. There are some plants that tend to do well in these conditions, (notably CA natives and many species of trees) but many small shrubs and perennials tend to struggle.
When installing the Rose garden, we had to bring in many yards of compost amendment for the roses to thrive. Over time compost breaks down heavy clay soils and creates an environment that is more suited for most plants to thrive. There are even composts available that are specifically designed to decompose heavy clay soils.
We installed the vegetable gardens in several large redwood vegetable boxes. Raised beds for vegetable gardens have many benefits: Better protection from frost, pest and rodent control is easier, access is less laborious, and most importantly having control of the soil conditions. We created a Squash and Pumpkin patch using the “no dig” method of installing a garden bed. This involves no tilling or turning of the soil, instead we added earth worm castings, then several blends of compost on top of the existing soil. This method is great for vegetables which don’t require much depth in the soil to thrive.