Country property landscaping offers unique challenges as well as opportunities for a different landscaping flavor.

Details Landscape Art was called to landscape a large side area of a home on the rural outskirts of West Petaluma. The property backed up, on one side, to an open-space field. A neighbor’s property could be seen through some sparse scrub trees and bushes on an adjacent side.

The existing space, which was not landscaped at all, was on a gentle slope, and covered with closely mown wild grass. There were a few scattered mature trees, which provided some shade and an attractive background.

The owner asked for a stamped concrete patio for an outdoor seating area. To install this patio on a gentle slope, the upper half of the area needed to be excavated about twelve inches to flatten the space. Above this excavated area we installed a small stamped concrete retaining wall to prevent dirt and bark above the patio from sliding down onto the patio.There was already in place a set of pressure treated steps leading up to the new patio.

The areas to be landscaped called for approximately four hundred deer resistant plants; to preserve the open view of the natural field beyond the property, we decided to on a tapestry of seven different ground cover plantings throughout. These included ceanothus ‘Centennial’, rosemary ‘Huntington Carpet, manzanita ‘Emerald Carpet’, sarcococca hookerana humilis, mondo grass, lomandra ‘Breeze’, and cistus ‘sunset’. These ground covers, with varied bloom seasons, served an additional purpose. Country property landscaping almost always involves gopher control, required the use of wire gopher baskets to protect the tender roots of the new plantings. The owner did not, however, want to see the little gopher mounds that always appear between the plantings. So the ground cover planting, which would ultimately grow to twelve to twenty four inches in height, would hide these dirt mounds.

Here and there among this ground cover landscape, we installed taller individual plantings to provide some vertical interest and seasonal color.

Another challenge on this country property landscaping project was the poor quality soil. The sandy loam did not retain moisture and was nutrient deficient. After a heavy rain we noticed that the water had completely drained within a few hours. The critical part of the drip irrigation programming would be the FREQUENCY of watering rather than the duration. We also cautioned the homeowner to be diligent about fertilizing all plantings on a monthly basis.

Mid project the owner requested an outdoor low voltage lighting system. We installed a 300 w. transformer and a mix of LED path lights and floods on the existing mature trees.

Late in the project, the owner asked for a new open fence on the property line with the neighbor, to replace the rotting posts and poorly constructed barbed wire fence. We built a four-foot tall woven wire fence framed in redwood. For better rigidity we installed the redwood posts approximately six feet apart, and since the fence was on a gentle slope, we ‘stepped down’ each six-foot fence section.