Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Redwood fence

I had seen inventive redwood fences with horizontal slats around the neighborhood (Holt and Halm), so, when it came to replace the old wood fences behind the thick bamboo hedge we had removed, I inquired about those custom choices, but they proved too expensive.  I settled for pre-assembled 6×8 feet dog-ear panels from Lowe’s; they only cost $70.31 each.  Then the lattice panels would be nailed on top to reach the more desirable 8-feet height and still conform to LA City codes.  I only discovered later, after the fence was built, that they had bought common not premium grade panels from Home Depot for $54.97 a piece. It would have cost only $150 more (out of a $10,000 total expense) to get the better quality panels, but I was never informed of this change.  Eventually, after the fence was painted with a transparent redwood stain to protect the wood from heat and humidity, it looked better, but you can still see through the knot holes.
Another problem that was too late to fix was that the landscape designer had assured me that the fence would all be the same height, even though one of the neighboring lots was higher than the other; but they did not adjust for the difference, so now I have a 6 inches gap where the 2 sides meet.
I was inexperienced and did not pay close enough attention, I trusted that the people I hired knew what they were doing. So I’m writing this warning for you to be more careful, if you attempt a similar project.  Please keep us posted if you do.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Bamboo removal

I chose Larry Hess of Bloom Landscaping to clean up my bamboo hedge, remove the morning glory and replace a portion of the decaying picket fence, because I knew him from the SORO Green Team. With Paula Waxman he had designed the Hami Garden and organized the planting of new trees on Robertson.  But we had not foreseen the necessity of removing the bamboo entirely, which in turn forced us to replace the entire length of the old wood fence behind it; so the timing was somewhat backwards.  The carpenters had already been booked for the weekend, but it took 8 gardeners working for 2 days to rip out by hand that huge amount of bamboo (see post), so they decided to leave the spare live strands standing, because digging up all the roots would have taken too long.  That’s how it happened that the new redwood fence was built first, then some time later the gardeners came back to finish the job of uprooting the bamboo.  Bamboo shoots are surely going to sprout back in some parts of the garden, and the morning glory will keep coming over to my side from my neighbor’s backyard, so we’ll have to keep a close watch.

If you wish to remove these invasive plants, here’s some tips.

How to Kill a Bamboo Plant.
Morning Glory, a vine type weed.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli


For 25 years, since I bought my home in Reynier Village, I loved the tall and thick bamboo hedge that surrounded my backyard and protected my privacy through its impenetrable branches.  It was planted decades ago, in a time when homeowners were not aware of the destructive behavior of running bamboo, whose roots travel underground, under driveways and lawns.  About 10 years ago another invasive plant started growing on top of the bamboo hedge, morning glory; it spread all over at a rapid pace, but I enjoyed its purple flowers.  After warnings from gardening experts, more environmentally aware than myself, I decided to have this vine-like weed removed.  To our horror, below the pretty flowers, we discovered a thicket 3-feet deep of dead bamboo, that had to be removed because it constituted a fire hazard.  We filled a huge dumpster truck, with the 70 feet of bamboo.

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Tree People

copper rain chain

Rain chain (c) Deni Mosser

Do you want to learn how to collect rain, so you can use it to water your garden?
How about replacing grass with drought-resistant California Plants?
Register for these FREE workshops from TREE PEOPLE

Rainwater Harvesting
Native Plants and Turf Reduction

Saturday September 15 – 9:00am – 1:00pm
12601 Mulholland Drive – Beverly Hills

Provided: Workshop materials+Light breakfast and snacks
Registration is required
To register, visit the online calendar at
Registration Deadline: September 12, 2012

Questions? email: Linda Eremita or call (818) 623-4878

Text by Elisa Leonelli

Outdoor rooms

We were so impressed by the landscaping of the outdoor spaces of a Reynier Village home now for sale that we asked the owners for some tips on how they accomplished this result, in case other neighbors wished to do something similar and eco-friendly in their own backyard.

“Our goal was to create an outdoor room feel.  For our back patio area, we wanted to create a walled garden space, and we felt that drought-tolerant plants would be appropriate.  We called uponAtlas Design Consultants to help us, they proposed concrete poured in a geometric pattern, that would allow water to drain into the ground, rather than into the sewer system (a growing ecological concern). We hired contractor Marlon Rosales to pour the concrete. We also installed a rainwater collection barrel, tucked away behind one of the 3 California native dodonaeas that we planted as replacement for the rose bushes.  We hired another contractor, Rudy Martinez to install a custom redwood fence around our property, for aesthetic reasons and also for security.  We’re very happy with our outdoor spaces.”

Check out their website for more info, or if you wish to purchase this house

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Rain barrels

Red rain barrel

Don’t you wish you could have collected some of the rain that fell yesterday to use it in the coming dry weeks to water your garden?
Well, now you can by installing rain barrels under your downspouts.

Tree People has a promotional sale next Saturday, April 21, at the Windward School Garden, during the 4th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase.
10 am to 3 pm – 11350 Palms Blvd, LA 90036
You may purchase each red barrel for the discounted price of $100.

Pre-pay by credit card and your barrel will be ready for pick-up.
Then you may call Jerry at The Gutter Guy (310) 217 7678 to perform the simple installation (or do it yourself)

Read our earlier posts about this inspiring yearly event from
April 13 2011April 26, 2010 – April 25, 2010March 29, 2010May 24, 2009
Please send comments, if you attend this year.


Elisa Leonelli

Schools on Robertson

Hamilton High

Did you know that you could find so many learning opportunities for yourself and your family on our very own South Robertson Blvd?

If you have teenage children, they may attend Alexander Hamilton High School, and qualify for their excellent Music and Humanities magnets.

If you would like to grow vegetables in your own backyard, volunteer at the Hami Garden, take a 4-week class from Master Gardner George Pessin, Sundays starting April 29. Email him to register. Click here for more details, see our earlier post.

If you have pre-school children and would like to give them an early start in environmentally sound behaviors, consider enrolling them at
Green Beginnings Pre-School (310) 841 6100
3047-3049 S Robertson Blvd (more info)

If you need your toddlers to get comfortable in the water to be safe around your pool, book lessons at
Beverlywood Swim School (310) 838 4088
2610-2612 S Robertson Blvd (more info)

If you wish to learn about making art with ceramics, contact
Echo Ceramics 2856 S Robertson Blvd

if you love gourmet cooking, walk into this delightful shop that also sells kitchen tools and get a list of their classes

Hipcooks West LA (310) 841 2738
2833 S Robertson Blvd

Text and photo by Elisa Leonelli