Weathered granite boulders create a dry creekbed
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).
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).