I loved working on this project. Rather than hiring a crew to install the plants and irrigation—which is what I typically do—I worked with the homeowners. Jamie and Michael wanted to transform the entrance of their yard and wanted to take part in the process—they wanted to get their hands dirty.
I handled the design for the space. (Succulents immediately came to mind. The right kinds of succulents could weave themselves around the existing rocks.) I also gathered all of the necessary supplies (plants, irrigation materials, mulch, etc.) and brought everything to their house one Saturday.
That Saturday turned out to be one of the coldest days we’ve had in a couple years. (I’d stored the plants in my garage the night before to protect them from the frost.) It was so cold that I crossed my fingers the succulents wouldn’t get frostbite during the drive.
Once I arrived at their house I placed the plants according to the design. I also installed the basics of an irrigation system—a timer and mainline tubing.
Then Michael and Jamie joined me. I worked with them for about an hour, showing them the best way to put a plant in the ground, the things you can do to make the transition a bit easier for the plants, and the basics of installing drip irrigation.
That’s Michael above starting to install the plants while looking dapper. Jamie was equally as stylish. I looked like a homeless person next to them.
After I left, they got the plants in the ground and covered the succulents with a frost blanket to protect against the unusually cold weather. Once the weather warmed up the following weekend, they added emitter lines to the various plants, so they’ll never need to be watered by hand.
And last week Jamie sent me the two photos above. Made my day. I love how it turned out and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all grows and weaves together.
Amy John Headley is a landscape designer based in San Francisco.