A Blog about Landscape Design in San Diego
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Spring Home Garden Show

Spring Home Garden Show

The flowers are slowly coming into bloom, the sun is beginning to shine just a little bit warmer and the masses are starting to look at what is new in residential design as the outdoor recreation season begins. Oh who are we kidding, We live in San Diego! All year long is the outdoor recreation season. Every year around this time the Spring Home/Garden Show comes to town at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and every year a select group of master gardeners get to show their chops at the Master Gardeners exposition. The Garden Show is as they put it, is a place where you can find everything for your home, where show prices are the best and where you can buy plants direct from the growers. Don’t forget that any event at the fairgrounds has to include great food and the carts were out in full swing this year. Mmm, cant you just smell the kettle corn or grilled sausage over an open flame?


Exhibitors viewing the displays

Exhibitors viewing the displays

The Garden show provided the opportunity for San Diego residents to meander through the booths of merchants and business people all vying for our attention to help make our homes inside and out a better place. However, the main event at least in my opinion is the Garden Masters Exposition. The exposition showcases a variety of excellent Landscape Design companies displaying their version of beauty, design and function in a friendly competitive environment. The variety and diversity of displays is what makes this exposition so great, with designs that can attract a wide variety of show goers. The Spring Home/Garden show for 2013 was quite the success for everyone involved by providing exposure to a plethora of local companies and for demonstrating the great amount of creativity and hard work by those who put on the show.
garden masters 2013

Delta Home Improvement Specialists in the beginning stages of our Ocean Friendly Garden Home facade

Delta Home Improvement Specialists in the beginning stages of our Ocean Friendly Garden Home facade

Delta Home Improvement Specialists is a general contractor based out of our very own Encinitas, Cal-i-for-ni-a! Gerrod Rabak has been in business since 2005 creating and executing finely crafted projects. Gerrod has worked with us in the past to help realize our vision and he came through again to build our display at the 2013 San Diego Home Garden Show. Gerrod did an amazing job building our home facade that helped us win Best In Show this year!  We want to thank Gerrod for his time and dedication in helping with our successful showing at the Garden Show.

Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Garden Program

Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Garden Program


The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grass roots organization that started 25 years ago. It all started when 3 surfers from Malibu were about to lose their favorite wave through development.  The Surfrider Foundation was founded through their efforts to preserve something they loved and gave them enjoyment. Their mission thereafter was “The protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.” They feel pretty strongly about their commitment to protecting our beaches and have extended their reach around the world. We at Falling Waters Landscape were fortunate enough to team up with the Surfrider Foundation to design a display at the  2013 Spring San Diego Home Garden Show.

Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation


We are are certified contractors for Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Garden program which aims at preventing runoff from entering our oceans, conserving water by planting native and climate appropriate plants, increasing permeability of water back into the soil and by utilizing a variety of water retention methods. The Surfrider foundation realizes that Urban runoff from vehicles, garden chemicals and man made and caused bacteria and sediment is the number one source of ocean pollution. Their noble attempts to educate the public about this issue have brought companies like ours into the mix to be stewards of the program and implement these ideals of conservation into practice for the coastal cities in which we work and live. The Surfrider Foundation has always been at the forefront of protecting our coastlines through a variety of programs and the Ocean Friendly Garden program is yet another in a dedicated effort to protect, conserve and allow everyone to enjoy our beaches and coastlines.

Moosa creek is a great California Native nursery based in Valley Center, California. These guys are serious about their craft. This family owned and operated nursery uses a very unique growing system to ensure their plants are well adapted specifically to our Southern California Climate. To ensure high survivability they utilize microbe infused soil mixes that are designed to match a plants natural environment. Moosa uses as little amount of chemicals as they can for the benefit of the plant but also for the land on which they grow on. Moosa Nursery even water stresses their plants so that they “develop enhanced survival skills.”  All of this just means a plant thats going to survive wherever we plant it in Southern California. We support Moosa Creek and used their plants to help us win Best in Show at the 2013 San Diego Spring Home and Garden show for our sustainable and water wise display.

We filmed another episode of “Bang for Your Buck” at the Rhee house this last week. Again Jamie Durie was the landscape expert and Lauren Sparks was the Realtor. They walk through the space and decide if we did a good job and if Eugene will get his money back should he decide to sell the house in the future.

They were pretty easy on us overall. I was expecting more criticism, actually, but most of the constructive criticism was all stuff that Eugene and I knew they were going to bring up.

Right now our episode is the 13th in the lineup, so it won’t air for another 4-5 months. When I know more I will post here and on Facebook and hopefully you will check it out.

On a side point we are still developing our design for the Brick House in Hemet. Morgan has been really patient with us, and for that I thank you! The Spring Home and Garden Show is in a couple weeks and we are frantically working on our design and lining up all the vendors and the labor… we will have a large space this year. Last year we were too busy to do the show, and now I remember why we didn’t do it… it just takes so much time. And of course, we want to put our BEST out there.

More later…

This last weekend we participated in the Cardiff Surf Classic and Green Building Fair at Seaside beach. With several local vendors, including an awesome breakfast from the Encinitas Fire Dept., the event went really well.

We put together a small display showcasing several plants that will do amazing in our climate. We also highlighted the Falling Waters Bench (available in custom sizes and colors), furniture from our favorite local shop Grounded 101 (www.shopgrounded.com). The weather was sporadic and at times beautiful… the surf was GREAT for Seaside standards, and the people were gracious and laid-back… what else would you expect from a bunch of Cardiffians? I wanted to give a shout to some of the local businesses that we are buddies with, please check them out and why not buy some of their stuff? its great stuff, we promise!

Revolution Bike Shop (www.revolutionbikeshop.com)

Revolution Bike Shop – located near Le Papagayo (great Sangria by the way) on the 101 is the kid on the block as far as biking in North County is concerned. All of the knowledge, parts and service of the other shops but without the attitude! They feel that biking is for everyone, no matter what your level of experience… ahhh how refreshing! So go on in and get sized for that beach-cruiser you’ve wanted, or that road bike, get your bike serviced or just check out Joel’s awesome tattoos! Whatever your biking needs, Revolution Bike Shop is your source.

Sanuk beach sandals and flip-flops (www.sanuk.com)

Sanuk is the essense of local. With a local shop, headed up by a bunch of local guys and gals, this is what sandals should be. Sanuk has been around for over a decade now… where have you been?! They sell all over the world, but you can pick up your pair at Hansons on the 101 or Surfride, or even K-5 in Encinitas.

Gauyaki Yerba Mate (www.guayaki.com)

Looking for that buzz without all the sugar and crash from those “so-called” energy drinks? Look no further than Guayaki Yerba Mate. Try the Lemon or the berry… they swear by the Mint. Its all natural stuff and will make you feel great… just don’t drink one after 4:00pm like I did if you’re sensitive to caffeine.  They gave out free samples at the Show, but you can get yours at Seaside Market in Cardiff, or try one with a healthy burrito at Mozy’s Cafe on the 101.

VEG – Vertical Earth Gardens (www.verticalearthgardens.com)

This is very cool. The vertical earth garden uses cheap materials to create you one awesome vertical vegetable garden. The prices are affordable and the results are awesome. I’m seriously thinking about getting one of these myself, and will definitely call them out on future projects. Check out the website for more info on this inventive idea that is making growing your own food fun and fast!

There was so much more at the show, and we felt very privileged to be part of the action. A big thank you goes out to Betty, Brenda, and Alexis of Steele Realty (www.realtysteele.com) for putting on a great show and including us. Thank you.

This month’s issue of Sunset features the Vess home in an article focused on preparing your home for wildfire season (which is right around the corner). Nan Sterman, our local garden writing expert and Author of several valuable plant resource books chose to highlight certain aspects of the Vess landscape, while stunning photographs by Jennifer Cheung make a visual impact:

1. Replace flammable plants: Any plant material that is high in oil content, very woody, or provides fuel too close to the house should be replaced

2. Lush plantings: Herbaceous plant material with soft, fleshy leaves typically hold more water, and are thus more resistant to fire. Some nice choices include several Agave and Aloe species, along with Cacti and almost all succulents.

3. Water your plants: Even though the Vess landscape was designed to reduce water needs, it still must be irrigated properly and sufficiently. Dry, thirsty plants are just waiting to go up in flames when those sparks start flying.

4. Use DG: DG or Decomposed Granite is a great mulching alternative (where appropriate) to wood bark and traditional mulch. It comes in a variety of colors, doesn’t break down like organic mulches, and keeps roots moist and weeds down.

5. Simplicity rules: Space between plantings allows the eye to rest… it also creates defensible areas to slow down the spread of fires. I love when design can serve multiple purposes!

Vess image

We were very excited to hear we took first place in the 2010 CLCA San Diego Chapter Beautification Awards for medium Residential Design and Build catergory for the Rhee residence in Kensington.


The landscape was also photographed recently for a Behr Paint Ad, and an article in the September issue of San Diego Home and Garden Lifestyles magazine. Also look out for the Vess home being featured in Sunset Magazine again very soon for an article about how to ‘Fire-scape’ your yard.

What else is new at Falling Waters? Ryan participated as a judge at this year’s Flower and Garden show at the San Diego County Fair. We are now offering maitenance services to our current and past clients in an effort to keep our gardens and designs as originally intended. We have added to the staff at Falling Waters with another Designer / Project Manager, and we hope that with his arrival we will be able to take even better care of our clients.

With Summer being in full effect here, we are busier than ever and enjoying the challenge. Thank you everyone for your continued support and well-wishes.

Falling Waters Landscape

You gotta love this home in Venice Beach, CA.

story by Debra Prinzing

EXCERPT: “The exterior walls of the new wing of the Bricault family’s Venice home are clad in sedums and other succulents, which soften the contemporary architecture so it looks like a plush, verdant floating cube. Paul Bricault likes the way the horticultural house gets people talking.

“Everyone who comes here looks at it with this quixotic expression. We get all sorts of questions, including, ‘Do we have roots coming through the inside walls?”








Full Story

 Vess Residence






So last Friday the show, “Bang for your Buck” profiled three San Diego landscapes – or Outdoor rooms. Jamie Durie was the guest host, and the Vess House was chosen as one of the three projects. The price point being compared was $110k . The Real Estate Agent and Durie tour the homes, and based on what was accomplished for the budget, decide who will get the largest return on investment.

Now, we are in a funny real estate market, are we not? And besides the fact that pricing a home and its amenities is an extremely subjective and variable science, pricing any real estate right now has to be tricky. That all being said, the Vess home tied for first place with an 80% return on investment – not too shabby…. but wait! What the show failed to make known (not the show’s fault, it was only a 22 min episode) is that the Vess residence has applied for and achieved Historical status which results in a significant tax break – and is transferable if the owners decide to sell one day. Because this was desired from day 1, several materials were specified (RR ties, unfinished block, aggregate concrete, minimal modern amenities) that would be in keeping with an early 60′s landscape. This style meshed well with the Owner’s desires for the property, and the project moved forward.

The great part about the episode was Jamie Durie’s enthusiasm for the landscape and the home. He mentions several times “wanting to buy the Vess house”. After taping, we had lunch together and discussed his recent projects (including Charlize Theron’s garden) and his other show on HGTV, “The Outdoor Room”, of which I’m a huge fan. In my experience the show is a fairly real interpretation of the design/build process… except for the fact that I don’t get to have an all expenses paid trip to Kyoto if I want to design a Japanese Garden. Durie basically gets to do what all of us Landscapers would LOVE to do… that is, visit an inspirational place, take photos, meet local people, and then return to reality and build a garden evoking the sentiment and feel of the inspired location. WOW, what a job! Suffice to say, I’m working on my tan and my Australian accent…. HGTV are you reading this?

When possible, we will link the episode on the site.