Project Description

A wonderful opportunity was presented to create a sustainable cacti and succulent garden in San Mateo.  The owners were committed to removing the lawn on this prominent corner lot, as the aging sprinkler irrigation was leaking and wasting water. They were drawn to the cacti and succulents of a dry landscape. We selected the plants, and included some complementary dry-landscape shrubs, and artfully arrange them throughout the front yard, with the boulders that the client hand selected. A century-old olive tree provides scale to the plantings.  Existing established gardens form a green backdrop. Although the new landscape is drip irrigated, is is hydrozoned carefully so that the plants receive no more water than they need. Most require no irrigation at all, and will thrive with only natural rainfall, and will flower prolifically in the spring.

As the garden matures, the architectural shapes of the plants will become more pronounced, and the garden even more interesting.

Sustainable Cacti and Succulent Garden Plants:

Echinocactus (Barrel cactus), Cephalocereus senilis (“Old Man” cactus), Agave parryi (artichoke agave), Yucca rostrata (Big Bend Yucca), Dasylirion longissima (Mexican Grass Tree), Leucospermum spp. (Nodding pincushion), Anigozanthos spp. (Kangaroo Paws), and Senicio mandralascae (Chalk Sticks) are some of the plants we used.

Installation by Rock & Rose Landscapes

Ecological Attributes

  • minimal water requirement
  • lawn removal
  • permeable paving
  • drought tolerant plant selection
  • planting to attract beneficial birds, butterflies and insects
  • defensible space and fuel reduction strategies
  • minimal organic waste