Last weekend, we had a chance to check out the LA Garden Show at the Arboretum and were struck by the work of the Greater LA District APLD. The theme of the show was Living Green and the garden they created went far beyond a great layout or interesting plant combinations, instead it illustrated concepts for sustainable ways to improve residential landscape without sacrificing aesthetics.At the heart of the garden was a Puzzle Prefab Shelter designed and built by Gregg Fleishman which served as an alternative to the idea of a 3 bedroom house with attached garage. It reminded us of a hard walled yurt, or a grown up version of a gingerbread house built with interlocking router-cut plywood with integral slots and notches that mean that screws, nails and bolts are unnecessary. The small round structure has plenty of windows and views out onto the garden offering up a beautiful (if a bit extreme) example of small space living. Wrapping all around the house were ideas for sustainable gardening that went beyond simply choosing drought tolerant or native plants (though these are represented as well and are a great start to smart gardening). Among our favorite ideas:
• Rain Garden for collecting rainwater to use later.
• A patio built with permeable paving which reduces the heat that normally rises off of pavers.
• Wooly Pockets for making use of vertical space and to serve as a view out one of the windows.
• A vegetable garden built by Crystal Robinson Garden Design to have locally grown fresh produce.
• A green roof dog house that kept the 90 degree day at bay with a roof full of succulents, created y Laura Morton Design.
• A meadow instead of a lawn. Less water, less maintenance built by Hayden Landscape.
• A small citrus grove that served as a backdrop for the lemonade stand, a nod to the idea of community.
The APLD, or The Greater LA District of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers is a local group of creative designers enthusiastic about changing the way Southern California looks at creating a "greener garden" for residential landscapes. See more on their website.