Grow a natural backyard

Invite wildlife into your garden with Western plants chosen for their blooms and berries

GETTING THE NATURAL LOOK

To give native plants the right setting, try the following tips.

Mix natives with other dry-climate plants.
Good companions for California natives include water-thrifty plants from the Mediterranean region.

Plant a living fence.
With their bottom tips buried in soil, ocotillo canes will eventually sprout leaves and flowers.

Ocotillo fencing is sold by the panel; one source is Tucson's Old Pueblo Adobe Company ($50 per 5- by 6½-foot panel; 520/744-9268; phone orders).

Use the right paving.
Decomposed granite is a good choice for native plant gardens because it allows rainwater to seep through to roots in winter.

Install a dry streambed.
Line a shallow trench with river rock of various sizes to suggest the flow of water.

Create a natural birdbath.
Bring in a boulder with a basin-shaped depression in its top and fill it with water.

To keep the water coming, thread a narrow drip tube through a curving piece of copper tubing and arch it over the stone (this also provides a handy perch for birds).

DESIGN INFO

Landscape design and installation:  Greg Rubin, California's Own Native Landscape Design, Escondido (760/746-6870).

Recirculating stream's design:  Landscapes to Behold, La Mesa (619/670-3150).

More:  Planting for birds and butterflies

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