These innovative garden ideas create versatile areas in small outdoor spaces – Orange County Register


For lovers of cozy outdoor spaces, there is nothing better than a garden, it is a garden in a garden.

Creating these versatile landscapes is the last passion of Table2Garden partners Cheryl Dimson and Milli Low. A single garden can have space for meditation, another for entertaining or spending time with the family, and a third for growing fruits and vegetables.

“What excites us the most is helping people understand how to create destinations in their gardens and find new ways to use space,” said Dimson.

  • This gravel patio, an alternative to grass, is planted with borders and Waterwise containers. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • Rainbow Cordyline is surrounded by succulents in this narrow profile steel planter. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • (Courtesy of DUSTIN GIMBEL)

  • Dustin Gimbel’s front garden features a pot he turned into a reflection pond, homemade hexagonal pavers, hypertufa towers (a mixture of concrete and other lightweight elements that can be cast or sculpted) and a large self-seeded annual Orlaya grandiflora gallery. (Courtesy of DUSTIN GIMBEL)

  • A patio wall is covered with dimensional planters made from reclaimed wood and filled with low-water succulents and plantings. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • Custom steel vertical and irrigated succulent gardens help make the most of a small space. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • Cheryl Dimson, left, and Milli Low teamed up to create Table2Garden eight years ago. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • (Courtesy of DUSTIN GIMBEL)

  • Decomposed granite and stone paths mix with reclaimed wood screens and containers with low-water plantings to create a modern, low-maintenance design. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • Many homeowners include space for growing vegetables in their gardens, such as this raised garden on a gravel base. (Courtesy of TABLE2GARDEN)

  • A 3D rendering, using Sketch Up Pro software, made by Dustin Gimbel for one of his clients. The vertical succulents garden is an exterior shower screen. There is also an airplant wall. (Courtesy of DUSTIN GIMBEL)

The couple, whose individual experiences include stints at Porsche Design and Apple Computer, have found a way to combine aesthetics with a passion for growing things. Their projects feature native drought-tolerant plants and sustainable materials – and, the duo agrees, a devotion to beauty only found in nature.

Likewise, landscape designer Dustin Gimbel of Second Nature Garden Design takes this type of approach for some of his projects. He recommends dividing the garden into “rooms” or “conversation spaces”. It’s about transforming outdoor spaces into welcoming and usable living spaces.

Gimbel uses his own Long Beach garden, which was featured recently in Sunset Magazine, as his “little lab”. There, in the outdoor rooms created by privacy screens, creative fences and hand-cast stepping stones, he experiments with various combinations of plants.

Go vertical

Another concept that Dimson and Low are zealous about is greening even the smallest spaces. “Spaces that are small can still have a personal outward feeling about them,” Dimson said, “If people are thinking, rather than the outdoors.” Vertical garden walls, hanging pots, wall fountains, and even ponds in a 2 foot space are possible if people think of the space differently. “People are realizing the benefit of having green living spaces around them,” Low said. “We don’t want people to think they have to switch to plastic plants to have a nice green space on their patio or patio. “

Personalize it

A recent project took Dimson and Low, who are based in Orange County, to Huntington Harbor, where they reinvented a bridge area. They replaced the large round pots with vertical planters to open up the space. The client’s family owned the City Market in Los Angeles and had saved the boards from one of the buildings. The couple used reclaimed wood to build walls and planters, incorporating family history into their design.

Gimbel, whose garage recently became his ceramics studio, is creating a garden for an art teacher that incorporates ceramic sculptures and bespoke pottery. He throws away pots, including plant boxes, which he now uses in his landscaping.

Focus on fire

All three designers agree that the first on the list of what homeowners typically want to add to their gardens are fire pits, fire bowls, or fire tables. Gimbel uses them as visual designs in his designs. “A nice fireplace surrounded by furniture draws people into the garden,” he said. “A fireplace and landscaped lighting allow you to use the space even more. “

The front yard

Not all of the areas Dimson and Low are reinventing are behind the house. They are eager to help homeowners realize that there are options for the front yard beyond grass and gravel. More and more customers, said Dimson, “are learning about the use of the front yard as a social and community space.” They are now open to having a seating area in front of their house, as well as fruit trees and even raised beds.

New natives

While homeowners still ask for low-water, low-maintenance options, the recent summer heat wave has prompted Gimbel to explore what he believes is a growing trend: heat-tolerant plants. “This summer has been so crazy that I think we have to start looking to the Australian natives because they tolerate the heat as well as the Arizona and Texas natives.” Relentless heat and nights that did not drop below 70 degrees created “a paradise for fungi and bacteria,” he said, causing normally resistant plants to weaken and root rot to develop. roots. So now he’s exploring the natives of warmer climates as options for SoCal gardens.

Dimson and Low echo this concern. Along with the natives of California, the natives of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are becoming popular, they said. Several nurseries in the region cultivate them, so they do not need to be imported. Look for Cordylines, Grevillea, Flaxes and Hebes to make a stronger statement in gardens across the region as landscapers such as Dimson, Low and Gimbel, always mindful of drought and climate issues, striving to keep SoCal gardens beautiful and healthy all year round.

To start

Even if you can’t redo your outdoor space from scratch, you can improve your garden. Dimson and Low offer these suggestions:

Start with good soil: Consider a mixture with good drainage and good water retention. Buy it from a place specializing in soil, not from a builder.

Include irrigation: Discover the new battery operated valves that put water where you need it.

Create an elevation: Add dirt, driftwood, rocks to the landscape to keep it from being flat.

Bring colorful containers: Do not scatter them, group them. This “potscaping” approach has more visual impact and is easier to irrigate. A small number of plants can appear lush, adding a splash of color to the space.

Add mulch: It helps to retain water in the soil and gives a fresh look to the garden. Explore the bark, cocoa mulch, rubberized options. Aguinaga Green has created a fire retardant mulch.