The garden was about 3 years old when we were called in for a consultation. Although the basic layout was very pleasing, the plants themselves were dying. The rocky clay soil combined with the new irrigation system plus underground water seepage from the mountains above had been a death sentence…. The garden was practically a swamp.
The clients wanted to keep the lawn for their children to play on, but the lawn water intensified the drainage problem. After agreeing to resuscitate the garden, we moved all the surviving plants up into the surrounding slopes where they could breath and recuperate. We then added many tons of new soil to build mounds in the flat parts of the garden in order to create essential drainage. These mounds created the possibility of additional paths and seating from which to view the new plantings. To honor the homelands of our clients, we planted South African natives for her, and California natives for him. Luckily these two areas are among the five mediterranean climates in the world, so their water needs are not only similar, but minimal.