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Our 2023 Spring Garden Tour is a journey along the San Diego coast from Pacific Beach to Solana Beach. The San Diego Horticultural Society has teamed up with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, San Diego District,to feature the work of some of the best local garden designers. If you are looking for a designer to help you with your own garden this is a great opportunity to see the work of several different designers.

The Horticultural Society’s early-season tour focuses on plant-rich gardens with unique and customized hardscape features. Each garden has its own personal style designed to take advantage of unique characteristics of the site to create wonder living, relaxing and entertaining spaces.

A Tango of Textures- Designed by AnandaScapes

In April of 2019, the homeowners were close to completing a renovation on their 1930 ’s, Spanish Revival, Californian Bungalow and knew they wanted their landscape to reflect the quality and integrity of their home. The clients were looking to continue the Spanish architectural style in all of the landscape features, and if possible, incorporate some plants from their native home of South Africa. Some of these plants include Aloes, Leucadendrons, Leucospermums, and Proteas. The homeowners wanted a courtyard feeling with walkways and paths that meandered through the garden. It was also important to have little vignettes, and glimpses to more private areas. Amani is the name they gave the garden.  It means peace and tranquility, the same as Ananda, the name of garden designer's business.

Garden design by Joel Berlin CPLD of AnandaScapes LLC

Artist Jami Wright will be painting in the garden.




Cottage Industry Beach Garden  - Designed by Gravel to Gold, Inc.

This charming 1946 Beach cottage is the private home of the owners of Gravel To Gold, Inc. a landscape design and construction company.

The landscape design has a Mid-century Modern vibe and eco-friendly elements while maintaining the vintage cottage character of the home.

Lovely plantings in the front yard and wide parkways welcome guests. Retaining walls elevate the front yard creating a family-style place for visiting with neighbors. Custom iron gates enclose the space and a redwood pergola shades the front porch. Eco-friendly elements include a low water groundcover called Kurapia (a great lawn substitute), and rain barrels along the side yard for water storage that overflows to a bioswale on the upper terrace.

The backyard garden features an outdoor kitchen with a pergola, a gas heater, plus multiple areas for seating. This space also hosts a shipping container converted to a studio office with a covered porch; an outdoor bath and shower; an orchard; succulents, and the creative use of concrete pavers that double as an electric vehicle parking/charging station with direct access to the alley.

Garden Design and construction by Gravel to Gold, Inc.



Shades of Green + Circles Garden - Designed by Andrea Doonan

This garden design was approached in two phases. In 2017, the ‘Shades of Green’ curb appeal hillside was installed, as a creative and cost effective way to highlight the home’s unique style and architecture without adding walls and terracing. The Agaves punctuate the landscape with bold contrast against the ‘Cousin Itt’ Acacias and Sunset Gold Breath of Heaven. The hard-as-nails dwarf natal plum hugs the border and deters pets and pedestrians from trampling the landscape.

In 2022 on the other side of the wall, the “Circles Garden” was installed replacing the lawn in place of yellows greys purples and greens with pollinator friendly plants. Honoring the curves of the home and the original Landscape Architect’s layout, we followed the arcs with Santolinas, Verbenas, native sages, yarrow, Grevillea, monkey flower, narrow leaf milkweed, and mass plantings of Lomandra. To further echo the geometry in the design, we wove circular pavers through the planters. The client wanted to be supportive of pollinators and butterflies. This is a great example of how you don’t have to compromise your aesthetic or style to support habitat. The circles garden was installed by L Watson Design Co.

Garden Design by Andrea Doonan 

Artist Sarah Sullivan will be painting in the garden. Learn more about Sarah and her work at  deliberatesketch.com or Instagram  




Solana Beach Rock House - Designed by Andrea Doonan

The Solana Beach Rock House was built during the construction of the Lake Hodges Dam. Some of the rocks removed from the back of the house from a remodel to were used to build the entry columns, preserving the history and extending the architecture out. This is an excellent example of small space design and living - this sweet little rustic beach house has everything puzzled in- including a cedar spa, shower, veg beds, dining, and even a fire pit. Installed in 2017, like all gardens, this one has gone through some evolutions where a neighbor’s tree was removed and some plantings required recent planting editing and additions this year.

Garden Design by Andrea Doonan 

Artist Stephanie VanderWetering will be painting in the garden. Learn more about Stephanie and her work on Instagram.



A Succulent Showcase - Designed by Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc.

This Carmel Valley front yard exemplifies the landscape designer's work with a Mediterranean climate and plant palette. The contrasting shapes and colors of the plant material create gardens that have a yearlong impact without having to rely on flowers. Manufactured concrete steps were used to create the oversized stepping stones and the steps.

The gap between the new steps and the two retaining walls allowed for the use of small-scale succulents that can be observed close up.

The plant material is a combination of succulents, California, Australian and South African native plants.

The vertical wall garden was a collaboration between Ricardo Marinho and Amelia B. Lima.

A green wall is a smart way to have a lush yet eco-friendly garden by recirculating runoff water.

This vertical garden is a perfect solution for this narrow side yard. The dining room and kitchen both look onto this area that now features a 260 square foot garden home to a combination of soilless epiphytes and lithophytes that create a living mosaic of color.

Garden Design by Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc.



Engaging in Color - Designed by Nan Sterman, Waterwise Gardener

This home and original landscape date back to the 1990's and was formerly landscaped in a "tropical" style.

The new garden starts with a small front yard that exudes color & texture. The front gate opens to the home’s entry area and a lovely, shady courtyard with a seating area to settle in for a nice chat with friends. As you go beyond the courtyard you’ll find yourself in a large backyard with much to delight the eye and senses.

A few features remain from the 1990’s design, such as the pool, and a “cabana” style outdoor kitchen, along with a few beloved palm trees. The new backyard features two large raised beds, an outdoor dining area in a space that was formerly an ignored side yard, and colorful plantings that replaced a flat lawn.

The large slope incorporates plants that are stabilizing, and that add plenty of interest rather than simply functioning as a green background.

The client LOVES color - lots of it - as the garden reflects.

Garden Design by Nan Sterman, Waterwise Gardener

Artist Lorri Lynch will be painting in the garden. Learn more about Lorri and her work on Facebook.




The Rooster House - Designed by Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc.

The Lima's purchase the house in 2015. From the street all one could see was the house perched on the large Melaleucas that dominated the front yard. The hill across the front door was entirely covered by vinca and around the main patio there were thee different palm trees. The difference in elevation from the front patio to the neighbor’s lot was considerable. Changing the elevation was not an option since the two septic tanks are hidden on the hill.

The dry river bed against the house was existing and it was easy to understand the architect’s intent, preserving the house structure from any water damage that may come from higher neighboring lots.

The design began by creating three walls using oversized boulders to help maintain the change in elevation. The tree palm trees and one of the Melaleucas that leaned towards the house wall were removed.

Next a dry creek bed that runs from the top of the hill, perpendicular to the neighbor’s lot, and ends on the existing front patio was added. The intention was to create a visual connection with the already exiting dry creek bed. The soil under the dry creek cobbles was highly amended to create a soil that acts like a sponge to capture the excess runoff and help releases it slowly to the surrounding garden.

The two Cycads mark the top of the two septic concrete boxes and were existing.

Today, the back garden features a large deck with stunning lagoon views. Several art sculptures are displayed in the garden.  The garden is a mixture of succulents and Mediterranean plants. They create a year round colorful tapestry that can be seen from all the many house windows that face the garden.

Garden Design by Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc.

Artist Joyce Trinh will be painting in the garden. Learn more about Joyce and her work on Instagram.




Homage to Japan - Designed by Jackie Seidman

When Jackie first met her clients, the garden was a mess of overgrown junipers, a rotting railroad tie pathway and a huge dying pine tree.

The objective while designing this garden was to create a Japanese inspired design and incorporate plants that would thrive in San Diego. Joanne and Bob had spent 4 years in Japan during the 70’s and traveled extensively, visiting many gardens. Joanne is a member and frequent visitor to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego. She was very instrumental in the plant choices. In addition, they visited the stone yard together to hand select the spires for the gravel garden, which Joanne rakes frequently.

Jackie's goal was to create a garden of peace and tranquility. She used a quiet palette with a few blooming plants, and of course, a Japanese Black pine and Japanese Maple.

A new bioswale and rain chain to capture the rainwater, which previously had been cascading down the slope and running into the street. The gravel was custom blended to achieve just the right color.

Garden Design by Jackie Siedman of Jackie and the Beanstalk 



Our Mission To inspire and educate the people of San Diego County to grow and enjoy plants, and to create beautiful, environmentally responsible gardens and landscapes.

Our Vision To champion regionally appropriate horticulture in San Diego County.


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