Kathy’s Garden Transformation in Sacramento

Last week Kathy Sandel shared her former garden in Calabasas, California, and today we’re back visiting her current garden in Sacramento:

“Here are pics of my Sacramento rear garden. Not as amenable because much of it cannot be enjoyed or even viewed from inside the house. It is a typical rear garden which has no view. However it is pretty in its own way. I have struggled with this garden. I moved here at the end of summer 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic. I had been retired from landscape design about 5 years. As long as I had my Calabasas garden I didn’t miss it. I am also an artist, so I just concentrated on painting. But, moving here I missed my garden thru that first long cold winter and became very impatient to begin. And I had a hard time reigning myself in, I wanted color and fragrance right away!

So I won some and I lost some fights with myself. I have to laugh. I was everyone’s nightmare of a client. I wanted too many varieties, had too many objectives, could hardly say no to a beautiful plant even when it was decidedly questionable. And have had to redo my mistakes. My contractor who has worked with me for many years was wringing his hands! He saw I was in a fever of purchasing. Now, I am having to go back and simplify. And because I use almost all perennials and no annuals, my winter garden looks very different than my summer garden. What looks very empty in the winter without snow is very full to overflowing in the spring and summer. So it is a very common mistake to judge a garden in the winter. I am no longer near my old wholesale and retail gardens who knew me and where I could stroll through of an afternoon if I felt the need. The garden I have to use here is across town, so I began looking online that first winter. The delivery companies got to know me the winter!”

This is how the space started. Very bare bones.

And here… fake grass.

Here is the side yard with several citrus and the soil covered in large chunks of wood in an attempt to fight off weeds. I hated the wood mulch and removed all if it and also removed the fake grass. This side faces north.

Putting up trellis. And building some color and foundation. I was so impatient!

The rear garden faces west. The sun was blinding. This shot is the north west corner.

Beginning a path.

Finally, drip irrigation and the beginning of a variety of ground covers. I didn’t know which would be able to handle both summer heat and winter cold and wet. So I interweaved several and decided to let them show me which would survive.

Adding some color.

More plantings and containers bringing color.

Starting to fill in.

Lots of the ground covers are happy, and have filled in this space nicely.

Roses and verbena (Verbena hybrids, Zones 8 – 11 or as annuals)

Roses bringing sweet pink blooms to the party.

A variety of Sedum, a succulent ground cover, Plus the lime colored ground cover is a Ceanothus (Zone 9 – 11). Ceanothus are always a gamble, but when they are happy they thrill.

Looking out at the garden from the sitting area.


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