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No Hog Here!
Neighborhood Jewel with a Surprise
Karen Lockwood | Crest Road

To drive by it is not enough. This remarkable garden invites one to walk slowly thinking about the beauty, complexity, colors, textures, mystery, leaf sizes and shapes, statuary and subtle allusions rooms. There is no design name for this kind of garden with 400 closely planted varieties.

The creative minds behind it are those of the owner and horticulturalist Dave Ericson. Experimentation, incredible vision and attention to detail are evident everywhere. On a micro-level even the scented plants are placed where the prevailing breezes cast the fragrances to a particular spot. No small detail is without a reason.

Was your first thought, like mine, after seeing the garden that it is a water hog?!
Here’s the surprising aspect—the garden thrives on recycled water. The owner and Dave designed the following system. The property like many in Del Mar is on a slope. In the front garden water from rain gutters and buried spaghetti tube dribbler piping is recovered.

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Because 75% of the plants in the front yard are drought tolerant—succulents, bromeliads, air plants and those from Australia this area takes little water.
Holes 5’ x 5’ x 5’ were dug leaving earthen walls. In the holes stacked upside down are 1, 5 and 15-gallon used plastic pots. A plastic trellis and filter cloth were placed over these followed by soil on top. There are three cisterns on the property. Inconspicuous drains in the front yard direct the water to the pits through 3-inch pipes. Roots easily find the water sources. Note that lush plants along Via Alta are thriving solely on recycled water. No household gray water is included, so no city permit is required.

Photos Karen Lockwood
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The garden is visited by horticultural societies giving Dave a chance to share botanical information and to promote water recovery. If one wants to make the largest difference in garden water use, he suggests, as does the county, to remove lawns. A water wise alternative could be Korean grass—Zoysia tenufollia.
He is currently not taking new landscaping project customers, but depending on time is available as a horticultural consultant related to water saving and design ideas. He can be reached at 951-212-0580. His pressing project is to complete the book he’s writing.



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