Get Look of LA in 10 Steps

The New Look for L.A. at Descanso Gardens Illustrates an Authentic L.A. Aesthetic

The New Look of LA, a lush, low water garden at the Center Circle of Descanso Gardens, illustrates an authentic Los Angeles landscape aesthetic.  The garden’s designers Cassy Aoyagi, Isara Ongwiseth and Eric Crow explain how to get the look:

  1. Stop sacrificing!: Los Angeles is not England, but it is not Arizona either.  Going low water doesn’t mean looking all dried up. It means developing a distinctive, authentic look all your own.
  2. Throw off conformity: Lawns are the school uniforms of landscaping.  The new look, like L.A. itself, is all about self-expression.
  3. Envision your new life:  The new look showcases your values.  Do you glow when you meditate? Do you love connecting large groups of family and friends? Your look should enhance the way you want to live.
  4. Evaluate your structure:  A good look will fit your frame. L.A.’s new landscape look is as diverse as our architecture.  Highlight your home’s good bones; cover its less appealing aspects.
  5. Recruit the new “It” girls:  While there will always be a place for the grand dames of L.A.–  our roses, camellias and birds of paradise – it’s time to make room for the ingénues. California natives look fantastic au natural.  Unlike their classic counterparts, these beauties need no chemicals and little maintenance to look their best.
  6. Notice who clicks:  Like people, some plants just click, needing similar mixes of soil, sun and water to shine.  Set your new friends up for success by grouping them into hydrozones with like-minded companions that will help them thrive.
  7. Hide your crazy:  Pop-up sprinklers have always been unsightly; now they are just plain rude.  Save your neighbors the hassle of re-routing their walk when you water and deliver water right to the roots of your foliage where it can have the greatest impact.
  8. Lose the stiff upper lip:  Those who must shovel snow might see beauty in expanses of concrete and straight walks, but we have the freedom to move about our landscapes more naturally.  Paving in a variety of permeable materials and meandering paths distinguish Los Angeles.
  9. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!:  Mulch is the landscaping equivalent of a great lotion.  Exposed dirt loses its luster and begins to crack, doubling the water you must consume to stay lush.
  10. Take it to the street:  Dropping your creativity at the sidewalk is a thing of the past.  There is no need to curb your enthusiasm at your parkway – your community may even provide grants for you to amp up your curb appeal!

More Information
What’s In and Out in Los Angeles Landscaping
Pin the New Look of LA plant pallet
PDF of the New Look of LA plant pallet