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A Gardener's Paradise

A hidden oasis in Escondido

Aloe plant and custom natural rock wall at the entry way of our Escondido featured home. Rocks for the wall were sourced from the property.


Our Escondido homeowner purchased her property in 2007. It is a custom-build on four acres of land in the hills of Escondido with a varying climate that goes from 100-degree heat waves in the Summer to possible frost threats in the Winter. The home sits in a rural area of north Escondido surrounded by native brush; as a result, the original owner had done a rudimentary clearance of brush around the home. Our client explained, “The realtor for this house told me that she had a lot of interest in the property but that all the buyers were nervous about how much bare dirt surrounded the house. It didn’t look good - it mostly looked like a lot of work!”
However, this was work that our client was willing to take on because she saw a property where she could start from scratch and make it what she wanted. Landscape Assistance has worked with this homeowner over the last 13 years to make her house a home and we’ll take you through some of the different aspects of this property that make it truly unique.

"Before" picture of the residence in 2007. There is no landscape, no pool, the whole 4 acres had been stripped of all native flora. The home sits on top of a granite slab and the dirt shown was not suitable for planting and would become above ground planters and stained concrete/flagstone/paver patio.


For our Escondido client, erosion was a number one concern considering most of the cleared brush around the home had been on slopes. Landscape Assistance mapped out acres of hillside and planted a variety of trees along the slopes. We choose Jacaranda, Eucalyptus, Ash, Tristania and Liquid Amber and Chinese pistache were chosen for their colored foliage and because they hold on to (most) of their leaves year-round. Native Oaks came up by seed and are scattered naturally throughout the property so we allowed them to grow in. Another added benefit of these trees, many of the species are native to hot climates where they have to search for water so they produce deep and thick roots – great for erosion control! 

The native plant material in Southern California is hearty and resiliant to withstand our arid and dry climate; naturally over time the natives rebounded and grew back in between the trees. Any natives that came up in undesirable locations were removed but for the most part filled in between the trees nicely. Some of the natives that reappeared include: native Sumac, Manzanita, Ceanothus (California Lilac) and White Sage. Other non-native/invasive plants also came up, which Landscape Assistance either eliminated or kept to a minimum, included: Chemise (eliminated), Buckwheat (kept to a minimum), invasive weeds such as Mustard (eliminated) and Sow Thistle (eliminated). 

Since all of the original the plant material had been removed from the property, Landscape Assistance was thinking long term with our approach because we knew it would take years for the trees and native pant material to fully grow in – but 13 years later; it’s bigger, better and more beautiful than anticipated.

The color of the Liquid Amber tree in November 2019
Grown in Jacaranda trees (flowering in purple), mixed in with blooming Calandrina Spectabilis, natural boulders and native Sage.
Flagstone wall around an above ground planter bed to circumvent the poor soil quality around the home. Paver patio and natural boulder from the property incorporated into the planter wall.
Satsuma tangerine tree in foreground and Pinkerton avocado tree in the background.
Satsuma tangerines from trees on the property.
One example of stacked natural rock on the property that creates a backfilled retainer wall next to a dirt pathway used to navigate the property on foot.

A Gardener's Paradise

In addition to the trees planted for erosion control, we also planted a small grove of fruit-producing trees. Our client wanted avocados, limes, tangerines, oranges, and lemons. All of these fruiting trees grow well in the Southern California climate with proper irrigation and were installed on a hillside on the property.

Our client wanted to be able to easily navigate her property and of course, her new fruit trees so Landscape Assistance created an extensive network of pathways and stairs throughout the property by using mechanical equipment to move the dirt into smooth sweeping paths along the hillside. Early on in this project, we brought in a crane to move pre-existing granite boulders on the property to more desirable locations and then incorporated the boulders into future designs. 

It was very important to the homeowner to sculpt the land, but use materials directly from the property so it all remained cohesive. Throughout the landscape there are several retaining walls built out of rock found and collected from the property. All of the rock is carefully stacked and back-filled with dirt to create planting beds and literal living walls as plant material grows through the stacked rock over time.

Stairs throughout the property are either from natural rock or railroad ties back-filled with dirt. The look of this technique keeps the property natural, rustic and very functional.

Grown in dirth pathway on the property. All the plants pictured are Southern California Natives.
Natural rock wall that is stacked. There is no other matieral holding these rocks together. The wall is inbetween two boulders that were placed with a crane in 2007.

No Place Like Home

This homeowner is an avid gardener. When she moved to the property it was imperative that she have a greenhouse with a shade structure for the plants she had brought with her. Because there were no shade producing trees on the property at this time and we were a few months from the peak of Summer, the very first job Landscape Assistance did was build our client a custom greenhouse with a shade cloth roof and stone paver floor.

Another large component of the early part of this landscape was the pool and back patio. Along with the homeowner we designed an infinity-edge pool and spa directly off the back of the home positioned to have the best possible view of the valley.

Around the pool, we installed stamped and colored concrete that transitioned into flagstone edged planters. This home is positioned directly on top of a large slab of granite. Initially this discovery was a disappointment for the homeowner because that meant poor soil quality and no plants were going to grow well on top of a big rock. To circumvent the poor soil, we built several raised planter beds out of concrete around the backyard of the home. Concrete pavers were used in the walkways between the raised beds and a pavilion was created as a sitting area for outdoor meals, positioned to take in the view.

It would be 13 years before Landscape Assistance would install a built-in BBQ for our client next to this raised pavilion – but it was finally installed during the Summer of 2019. 

We love the result! 

View from the raised pavilion patio the homeowner uses as an outdoor dining space.
A glimpse into the homeowners greenhouse and potting table.
At Landscape Assistance we love the way this BBQ install came out. Custom Ipe wood doors are weather resistant and disguise the propane tank.
Final result of this beautiful home.

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