Finishing the a Xeriscape estate in Antelope, CA

Over the month of February, I had the pleasure of planning and installing a full yard landscape. I love to work by myself, but this was a particularly taxing project. Mostly because I decided to do the tear out completely by hand, instead of renting a tractor. (I’m getting pretty good with heavy equipment :D)

I had a few friends come out and help me, but I did the vast majority of the work myself and I have to say, it came out really nice! Here is a clip of drone footage:

Functional Creek Beds and Drought Tolerant Plants

The Sacramento area is famous for a combination of droughts and heavy rains. This makes for an extremely interesting biodiversity in the region.

Creating functional drainage in a yard is a big part of plant health. Roots needs to breath oxygen, as much as they need to absorb water. Standing water and overwatering are a major reason for plants dying.

This Creek bed was a great way to create sloping in the yard that will allow the water to exit efficiently, meaning that there won’t be any pooling or standing water. It makes for a wonderful contrast between the rock and the plants and bark.

The creek is supported with 3″ drain pipe and outlets every 10-12 feet. I also used fabric exclusively for the creek bed.

Irrigation and Water Supply for Plants

The second biggest challenge, after forming the creek, digging the drains, and moving all the rock was to find water outlets for each of the areas of the yard. Lots of the old pipe had been abandoned, so it took a tremendous amount of testing to figure out how to get water to each of the different area of the yard.

I put an appropriate emitter to each plant and secure them in via huge steel staples. I also ran new timer wire along the house to the locations of the newly installed valves, both with pressure reducers. Then I installed a new timer, rain sensor, and wifi module for the timer so I can access it online. It also updates with the weather. I try to automate watering as much as I can.

The Xeriscapes Plants

I Installed well over 100 plants out there, and probably got pretty close to 150. All of them are small and will grow in, maximizing the value and lifespan of the plants. I really don’t like to buy mature plants. I put a layer of redwood bark around all of the plants to increase pest resistance and provide them with some extra nutrients.

Here is a list of the different species that I installed out there:

  • Azaleas
  • Australian Tree Fern
  • Dianthus
  • Verbena
  • Daisies
  • Savlia
  • Sweet Broom
  • Loropetulum
  • Leather Fern
  • Western Sword Fern
  • Asparagus Fern
  • Elfin Aloe
  • Elfin Thyme
  • Stock
  • Camelia


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