Designs Popular in the Southland Vary From Oasis to Arid

Here are some of the most popular landscaping design trends in Southern California:

Mediterranean--The California interpretation tends to be an informal, cool oasis that often includes a courtyard and water.

Hardscape: Courtyards, fountains, arches, wrought iron, tile, adobe, Slumpstone, light colors.

Softscape: palm trees, succulents, fruit trees, bougainvillea, aloe, red-hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria) .


Xeriscape--Features use of drought-tolerant plantings, not all native to this area, that still provide an overall lush appearance.

Hardscape: Concrete (stamped or textured), brick, tile, slate, cobbled or stone pavings, boulders, decomposed granite, sand, gravel.

Softscape: Yuccas, palms, succulents, established trees and shrubs, limited lawn areas.

Low-maintenance--Emphasizes easy care.


Hardscape: Concrete (stamped or texture), brick, stone pavings.

Softscape: Raphiolepis, mahonia, oleander, nandinas, flowering ground covers.

Oriental--Serene, but neat and very orderly.

Hardscape: Bamboo fences, bridges, stone lanterns, ponds, gravel, stone paving.

Softscape: Flowering fruit trees, bamboo, mondo grass, boxwood, Japanese maple trees, mosses, grasses, rhododendrons, azaleas, bonsai, ferns, dogwood, pines.

The Japanese garden, one type of Oriental design, must include seven elements: a pagoda lantern, dripping water feature, gravel, rocks, bridge and two statues (tiger and egret) in a predetermined, proportionate ordered randomness. The garden always relates to the inside of house.

Tropical--Lush, overgrown, cool.

Hardscape: Waterfalls, lagoons, naturalistic swimming pools, volcanic rocks.


Softscape: Lawns, tree ferns, bougainvillea, bamboo, hibiscus, aralia, ferns, bromeliads.

This particular design style can require an excessive amount of water and may be expensive during drought periods.