A peek inside the Santa Barbara garden of Owen Dell, author of ‘Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies’

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A couple of weeks ago, L.A. at Home’s sustainable gardening columnist Emily Green profiled Owen Dell, the brain behind the recently released ‘Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies.’ Green noted that Dell’s nine-step approach to a more environmentally savvy landscape was anything but a dumbed-down guide. You can read her full assessment here.

Green visited Dell in Santa Barbara and toured his home garden. As promised -- and with apologies for the delayed delivery -- we now have pictures. Click to the jump for the visual tour.

Above: Dell’s driveway is permeable concrete -- ‘the first in California,’ Dell said. Because rainwater can percolate into the ground, less flows into streets and gutters, reducing the runoff pollution entering the ocean. The garage doors are made of recycled wood.

Mailbox as fly sculpture.

One of the many orchids blooming on the property.

Meandering paths take visitors across a property divided into a series of miniature gardens.


An arrangement of potted succulents and cactus under a tree.

Fountain grass framed by the Santa Barbara sun.

Bits of art -- much of it made of recycled materials -- accent potted arrangements. The fountain in the background provides ambient sound.

Among Dell’s nine principles of a sustainable landscaping: Pattern the design after nature, make it stable and low-maintenance, install it with irrigation needs and plant habits in mind, harness natural cycles, use plants adapted to the local environment, use few fertilizers and pesticides, make sure the garden is beneficial to the local ecosystem as a whole and consider its environmental effects.

You can see an archive of Emily Green’s column, the Dry Garden, by clicking here.

-- Craig Nakano

Photo credits: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times