Four Materials We Use For Retaining Walls In San Francisco

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Retaining walls help to stabilize slopes and prevent soil erosion. They can also be used to create level areas in a sloped yard, or to define different areas within a landscape.

Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Can Be Beautiful

If you live in California, then you’re no stranger to drought-tolerant landscaping. It’s a great way to reduce your water usage, save money, and help the environment. The State of California has reported the “Driest winter months in 100 years mark third year of drought. January, February, and March had the least rain and snow on record for any of these months in California.”  Does this mean that my green outside living space is a no-go? Not necessarily! Drought-tolerant landscaping […]

A Touch of Asia in Your Landscape

Japanese and Asian landscaping As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to Japanese and Asian inspired landscape designs.  Simple yet elegant, and always so serene, just looking at Asian landscapes brings me peace.  It reminds me of the simple beauty of my family’s home town in Fukushima. During my travels in the last two years, I had the opportunity to visit many Japanese and Asian inspired gardens.  One in particular comes to mind above all others.  […]

Return of Tamate Landscaping

After a 2+ year sabbatical, spurred on by Covid, I have renewed my energy, spirit, and passion for landscaping. Ready to roll!! The two years away has given me time to explore the country and world, to see and feel different architecture and landscapes, and to reflect on things past and present.  In our souped up Airstream trailer.  We visited many parts of our great nation, coast to coast. After experiencing both highs and lows of traveling on the road, we […]

Creating a Zen Garden of Rock and Stone

Here in San Francisco, we have lots of hills, boulders, rocks; it’s all a part of the natural landscape. -And yet, not of lot of that natural landscape is incorporated into our gardens. It’s like we want to force the natural beauty of this land to transform into something else – maybe something tropical or southern. Maybe we want it to look like the vineyards of Napa Valley or something. Yet, there’s much to be said for hills and boulders […]

3 Signs Your Retaining Wall Is Failing

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to be more current with today’s various practices for retaining walls, and landscaping architecture. If you moved into a home with a pre-existing retaining wall, or your retaining wall has been around for a handful of years, you may start to see signs of deterioration before you recognize them – or recognize how serious they are. -But whether you call it terracing or retaining, they hold back a lot of dirt, and a […]

So, You Have a Retaining Wall to Plant

Have you ever planted something in what looked like fabulously rich ground, only to find a sickly-looking sample later? What happened? Why did it die? And what does this have to do with planting a retaining wall?

4 Common DIY Landscape Project Mistakes to Avoid

There’s something to be said for do-it-yourself landscaping projects. We get to experience the whole thing time after time: the excitement of the design process; purchasing the plants and mediums; seeing the design come to life; the final mixed feelings of pride in a job well done, joy at the beautiful landscape we’ve created and sadness that the excitement is over. In short, we can understand why some people would prefer to do their own landscaping – and if this […]

Protecting Against Crazy Rainy Weather

In San Francisco, where drought-tolerant plants are a big deal and succulents spring up everywhere, what’s a gardener to do when the rain pours down unexpectedly like it has this May? According to the National Weather Service, this month has been the wettest May since 1998. In fact, it ranks in the top 12 for lots of rain. In San Jose, it’s the wettest since 2005. That’s all to say that if you feel like you’re slogging through your backyard, […]

3 Tips for a Beautiful, Sloped Landscape

If you live in San Francisco, chances are you either have a sloped yard or know someone who does. After all, the city is well known for its hillsides and awesome views… thanks to the hillsides. -But what if you want a garden landscape? What if you don’t want a flat landscape, but can’t think of how else you might develop your sloped backyard for a beautiful flowered view? Thankfully, you aren’t automatically stuck with either flatlands or hard, precise, […]