Innovation, Imagination Change View Of Home Turf

Photo: Larson LandscapingPhoto: Frank & Grossman Landscape Contractors, Inc.Photo: Rene Grivel & Assoc IncPhoto: Rene Grivel & Assoc. Inc.Photo: Visionscape Inc.Photo: Visionscape, Inc.Photo: Samscaping, Inc.

If your yard is an extension of your home, you're right in synch with today's major landscaping trends. From displaying art in the garden to placing "pocket plantings" on the walls and positioning water features in the tiniest corners, innovation and imagination are changing the way Californians view the home turf. Here's what some top contactors told us when we asked them about the latest developments in landscape concept and design, along some highlights from the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show.

Artful Expressions

One gorgeous pot can give your garden an instant focal point, says CLCA member Diane Bloom of Bloom Gardens in Richmond. "You can even use the pot empty. That's something we do all the time. You can actually use the pot as sculpture." Bloom says she's also been known to put a beautiful container—or even a roughly hewn rock—to work as a water feature. Some advice: Don't spend big bucks to add landscape drama. If you look around, Bloom says, you'll find small ornaments —mirrors, gazing balls and sculptures—that are sure to fit the bill and the budget. For more information, contact Bloom Gardens at (510) 234-5196.

Ancient Look, Practical Use

A building material that has been used all over the world for centuries is making a big comeback today, say Pablo Cepero and Robin Erickson of California Landscape Service in Oakland. "It's called cob, and it's a composite mix of clay, sand, water and straw," Cepero says. "It's an ancient building material that is being looked at in a new light and being rediscovered." Somewhat like adobe in appearance, cob can be shaped into benches, walls and other garden appointments and it doesn't need baking. "We're always looking for natural ways to build," Cepero says. "We can add all kinds of artistic touches and even use it for bread ovens and fireplaces because it's nonflammable." Check out creative uses for cob in "The Hand-Sculpted House" by Ianto Evans, Michael Smith, and Linda Smiley (Chelsea Green Publishing Company), and contact California Landscape Service at (510) 635-7017.