Tucked away in the southwestern corner of the United States, San Diego landscape design captivates visitors who encounter laid back, coastal living with garden styles offering tropical getaways to contemporary Japanese Zen creations.
Home to miles of beach land, San Diego is blanketed by mild Mediterranean weather that produces dry summers and for the most part – wet winters. This means that creating fine outdoor settings that additionally complements the climate requires knowledge regarding suitable plants for the coastal wonderland of San Diego.
‘Plant selection is an important aspects of landscape design,’ says San Diego landscape architects Glen Brouwer and Larry Sheehan. ‘The other important thing is to create an outdoor space that meets the needs of the client.’
Glen, Larry and their team at Integration Design Studio demonstrate the flexibility of a contemporary design by integrating pools, outdoor spas, dining areas, and other functional landscaping features into yards of all sizes.
One San Diego landscape design project of theirs, a hillside property with limited outdoor space, was transformed into a personal paradise. An enchanting stone pathway leads through flourishing greenery, connecting a series of courtyards with outdoor living areas tailored to meet the needs of the homeowners.
Embrace Your Surroundings
Some of the best inspiration for San Diego landscape design ideas is seen in the styles decorating upscale communities, such as La Jolla with Mount Soledad offering some of the most spectacular views spanning northern San Diego to Mexico. Coronado and Point Loma Peninsulas separate San Diego Bay from the ocean, where you’ll find Coronado Shores, a luxury condo complex that uses outdoor lighting and tropical landscaping to create a tranquil oasis.
San Diego is a location where Tuscany-style residences mingle with heavily Mediterranean-styled homes amidst breathtaking coastal bluffs.
Lying just north of Mexico, the city shares a border with Tijuana, which constantly influences some of the architecture and design styles of gardens in the area.
Landscape designers have also found ingenious ways of incorporating naturally rocky terrain with exquisite sitting areas, benches, boulders, birdbaths, patios, and bridges.
However, a great deal of San Diego landscape design success lies in choosing the flowers and plants that best thrive in the Southern California climate.
Flowers and Plants Ideal for San Diego
The type of plants you select for your San Diego landscape design dreams becomes an important investment. For example, the hillsides of Carlsbad have become quite a tourist attraction, offering visions of some of the best flowering bulbs for Mediterranean styled gardens and climate, including:
- Babiana – African flowering plant
- Freesia – produces funnel shaped flowers in white, yellow, pink, red and blue-mauve
- Watsonia – South African native and relative of gladiolus
- Oxalis – easy to control plant with purple leaves and pale pink flowers
- Anemones – perennial herbs that come in shades of yellow, red, pink, blue, purple, and white
Of course, this doesn’t mean count traditional bulbs out. Early blooming tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils (Jonquilla and tazetta) are still favorites of the region.
San Diego Garden Styles
• Shade Garden: Situated in northern San Diego County, the hidden gem of Escondido provides a shining example of a shade garden, a type of specialty garden which takes advantage of full shade with collections of pink Ribes (currant), the Pacific Coast iris, and blue Ceanothus (wild lilac).
• Desert Garden: As you brainstorm for ideas that mirror the laid back yet sophisticated atmosphere of San Diego, allow the artistic display of the Desert Garden at Balboa Park spark your imagination with the more than 1,300 plants that stretch across 2 ½ acres. While the peak blooming worldwide period is observed from January to March, the unique shapes give way to interesting succulents and drought-resistant plants.
• Southwestern Flair: Southwestern style landscape is quite popular in San Diego landscape design where yellow Encelia (brittlebush) and orange Sphaeralcea (apricot mallow) make great companions to local desert shrubs. Why not couple a corner adobe fireplace with surrounding Spanish wrought-iron accents and soft outdoor lighting?
• Exotic Appeal: Perhaps you’d like to reflect the spirit of the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego by installing a koi pond dotted with lilies and vibrantly colored fish. Weave a relaxing path throughout your yard that leads to an herb garden, tea pavilion, or majestic waterfall. Consider a cherry tree grove simply for the scent of blossoms wafting in the air. Keep in mind that juniper, snowberry, azaleas, coffeeberry, manzanitas, and irises also channel the Far East.
We know many landscape professionals who will bring years of experience to your San Diego landscape design and create the outdoor space of your dreams. To find them use our Find A Pro feature at the top left of the navigation bar.