The June Spotlight project is in Goleta and has an unusually large native Coast Live Oak in the back yard.

The front garden has an abundance of flowering annuals and perennials next to the house. The lawn was decreased by adding large decorative rocks and extra planting beds. Decreasing the lawn size reduces the water, fertilizer, and maintenance requirements of the landscape.

The handsome flowering gingko tree does well in the lawn area and does not have invasive roots. It's a perfect choice for a lawn tree.

Jose Ortiz of Paradise Gardening redesigned and installed this garden two years ago. He graduated from both the standard class and the Advanced Class of the Green Gardener Certification program. Ortiz01

Jose is very careful to choose plants that fit perfectly in their location so that he doesn't have to do major pruning as they grow. He appreciated the lessons he received in the Green Gardener class on proper pruning for the plant and the season.

In this back garden there was a very large and healthy oak tree that was obviously there long before the house was built. The ground had been raised around it for building, leaving the trunk in a large depression. Jose put in plants that have distinctive leaf patterns in the whole area so there is a feeling of being in a much larger space.

It is normally very difficult to get anything to grow under the canopy of an oak of this size because of the acid from the fallen leaves. But, as you can see from the photo to the right, Jose has plants growing happily in the tree basin.

By choosing plants that have a variety of leaf colors and patterns, a garden can be made much more interesting and dramatic.

Jose uses a mulching mower on the small lawns and mulches all the flower beds. Drip irrigation is employed throughout and plants are grouped according to their water needs. No pest control is needed because the plants are so healthy.

If you would like to contact Jose Ortiz you'll find him under Paradise Gardening on the Advanced Green Gardener list by clicking here