Tough plants in a narrow yard take heat and salt spray
Beach properties come with a price, gardenwise as well as dollarwise. The views are great, of course. But the salty onshore breezes are challenging for all but the toughest plants. The strip in front of Abbott and Marsha Krieger's home in Pacific Palisades, located just uphill from the Pacific Coast Highway, is a good example. Fortunately for the Kriegers, the plants they naturally gravitated toward ― succulents and South African species ― stand up to salt quite well. These plants also like heat, says Stephanie Wilson Blanc, the garden's designer. So being squeezed between the street and the courtyard wall and getting reflected heat from both directions is actually a benefit in an otherwise cool location.
To get enough variety into the narrow space ― it's 22 feet at its widest point ― Wilson Blanc used lots of sword-leafed plants, such as 'Big Red' kangaroo paws in the foreground and Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion quadrangulatum) in the background. For contrast, she added fleshy-leafed succulents like ice plant and Senecio mandraliscae, plus a generous quantity of woolly-leafed African daisy (Arctotis). For height, she brought in mature cactus and tree aloes.
DESIGN: Stephanie Wilson Blanc, Pacific Palisades (310/459-3131)