Center Circle

Jun 28, 2015

11401240_10152933202537543_8962635198330980565_nIn this moment, drought-tolerant and water-wise gardens and lawns are the new normal. Is creating one yourself a temptation about which you’re eager and excited or does the idea lead to head shaking and slumped shoulders—where to begin?

Descanso Gardens’ Center Circle is located just inside the garden gate and has been created to illustrate “how lush and beautiful a water-wise garden can be.”

The Center Circle garden presents a new look for Los Angeles gardens—one that foregoes the traditional lawn in favor of plants that are more vibrant and lower maintenance. (




The Descanso horticulture “team” conceived of the Center Circle idea and Cassy Aoyagi of FormLA Landscaping was the designer. “This new greenspace demonstrates that water-wise gardens can be colorful, leafy, and lovely.”

The garden has water-permeable hardscape and “a ‘rain garden’ feature, both of which helps recharge the groundwater and reduce run-off.” The garden also includes a highly efficient irrigation system.

“This landscape requires less than half the water than a similar-sized plot of grass would require.”




Learn which plants “click” together, requiring similar soil, water, and sunlight for successful grouping. Efficient irrigation systems include the drip emitter, which delivers water right to a plant’s roots for the highest efficiency. Descanso horticulturists also suggest to “water deeply and infrequently rather than every day.”

Learn about how to keep your dirt moist and cool so that it doesn’t crack, requiring plants to need more water to remain vibrant. Mulch and compost twice a year.

Tempted but still feel burdened with a lack of knowledge or too many choices? Come to Center Circle and sit, look, and contemplate. Then, when one’s courage is sufficient pull out Descanso’s plant list with pictures, names, and matching numbers!

Imagine a lawn with lovely raspberry-colored Jester Conebush, deep tangerine-colored Indian Mallow, the blue of California Lilac, yellow Oregon grape, and powdery purplish-pink Echeveria ‘Afterglow.”

Keep imaging, start planning…




For information and inspiration, download Descanso’s plant list and brochure.

Center Circle, Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Canada Flintridge 91011. Tel.: 1.818.949.4200.








Photo, Center Circle, top right, courtesy of Descanso Gardens.

Photo, Center Circle, second from top, by Martha Benedict/L. A. Times.

Photo, Abutilon palmeri or Indian Mallow, bottom, by Curtis Clark at BioTrek.



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