Here in San Diego and throughout much of California we are able to grow a wide range of  beautiful trees for our outdoor spaces, but if your looking for a native standout you may find yourself stumped. One great family of native trees are the Oaks, in our area some that do especially well are the Coastal Live Oak, Interior Live Oak, Black Oak, Canyon Live Oak and the Scrub Oak.  If you are looking to grow your own iconic California tree I recommend planting your acorns right after the first rain of the season (typically in November) in a site with great drainage. Place the acorn on its side in a hole about as wide and deep as your hand, cover with about an inch of soil. Due to the fact that most critters like to harvest acorns its best to protect them with a small diameter metal screen for the first few years. Let the rain help with the watering chores however its best to give them a few drinks during the summer for the first few years to help them along. In time you will have your own iconic tree to be enjoyed by future generations.

If you would like to have Cleator Landscape Design help create a beautiful outdoor space please contact us at 619.917.3644

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 7.39.33 PM


Here are a few bits of information that should help you in your San Diego garden this month.

Tending to your citrus this time of year is a great way to ensure you will have fruit to enjoy in the future. I recommend feeding your citrus right about now, and if you are replanting an older tree or planting a new tree be sure to dial in the soil. Proper soil will help to supply the tree with the nutrients it needs but also will reduce the frequency of waterings.

Removing your lawn. Water it well then cover it completely with clear plastic, secure the edges and leave in place for 6 or more weeks to completely destroy the grass. Then re-water and see what pops up, remove thoes few stragglers and you should be good.

Prune your spent hydrangea blooms to only two buds per stalk.

Prune off your grapes leaves within about 6-8 inches of the fruit when fruit is about the size of a pea. Leaving the foliage on the south side of the vine to help shade it from the summer sun. This will improve air circulation while still shading the fruit as it matures.

If you would like to have Cleator Landscape Design help create a beautiful outdoor space please contact us a 619.917.3644

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.55.47 AM



In San Diego’s urban setting with it’s small lots, makes use of every inch of your property can help to make it function more like a larger space. Making double duty out of your landscape elements is one way to achieve this feeling. Think of all your landscape features that could be reused or redesigned to give you the space and flexibility you need is a great way to go.

One idea is to incorporate storage under built-in seats, or allow for a sandbox to also be a firepit. Growing edible such as lemon or orange trees offer vertical height, screening and the added benefit of homegrown goodness.  Have a small yard but need a pool and a larger entertaining space, consider a rectangular pool with a metal retractable cover to act as dance floor when called for.

This kind of thinking can allow your outdoor space to move and adjust to the needs of the client at any moment. If you would like to have Cleator Landscape Design help create a multi-functional space for your property please contact us at 619.917.3644

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.33.28 AM

Its now mid June and its time to tend your gardens. Most of your plants that are actively growing will benefit from a balanced fertilizer. However don’t feed or even give much water to any Mediterranean or native plants, they have evolved to handle our dry summers. But your lawn, any roses, annuals, perennials will all enjoy a nice boost.  Its also a great time to manage giant white fly, remove infected leaves and blast remain leaves with a strong blast of water to dislodge remain insects. You can also plant summers annuals  such as Gaillardia or Ratibida columnifera. Adding 2-4 inches of mulch will also help to maintain soil temp and conserve water as summer temperatures continue to rise. If you are growing tomatoes, be sure to pick off hornworms and irrigate every 5-7 days. Adding a nice layer of organic mulch around their base will also help. That’s a quick to-do list for June gardeners here is San Diego.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.06.40 AM

If you would like Cleator Landscape Design to help create a beautiful outdoor space for your property please contacts us at 619.917.3644

Recently I came across an article that gave some insight into Landscape Design, Architecture and Design-Build and I wanted to share some of that article with you today.

This article states that, in Britain, home to some of the worlds foremost historic examples of successful Landscape Architecture and Design and the home of The Institute of Landscape Architects. When this body was founded many Garden Designs,( known here as Landscape Designers) joined the Institution only to later leave over disagreements concerning profits derived from plants and materials, which was unfortunate. This separation lead to two very similar professions with at times a very blurred distinction on how they differ which still is evident today.

The article also went on to say that Landscape Design can be included as one of the fine arts, which I thought was a very accurate and complimentary remark.  It also speaks to the profession of Design-Builds and how they enjoy little popularity amongst Designer and Architects. For Design-Builds often are known for cutting standards and saving money, which is a result of a builder lacking both technique and aesthetic judgment. The article also mentioned how Designers and Architects should re-assume the leadership role in the construction industry. Providing clients the right design product in the right place at the right cost.

Just a little food for thought that I felt you might enjoy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 4.30.24 PM

If you would like to have Cleator Landscape Design create a piece of art that doubles as on outdoor space please contact us at 619.917.3644

Here in San Diego we are all very aware of the danger wildfires can pose on our dry chaparral woodlands. With many of us living along the rims and in the valleys of San Diego’s many canyon need to be well prepared and do what we can to reduce the risk of wildfires. One great place to start is in the landscape, with proper defensible space management and plant selection any homeowner can create a strong first line of defense in protection your home.

Keeping trees away from structures, planting only low fuel plants, clearing out gutters, keep plants limbs up of the ground and maintaining proper spacing are all ways one can help to mitigate the risk of wildfires.  Proper plant selection is also very important, seek out plants with low oil and high water content.  Many natives and succulents fit will into this category, plus they are often easy to maintain and beautiful.

By following simple guidelines and selecting plants based on their fire rating you can help reduce the risk that wildfires in your neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.43.30 AM

If you would like to have Cleator Landscape Design help create a fire safe outdoor space for your property please contact us at 619.917.3644

Gardening in San Diego comes with a handful of challenges when discussing soil. Often plants not accustom to our soil type need some help getting all the needed nutrients naturally without the help of fertilizers. The benefits of fertilizer should be fairly clear, however not all fertilizers are the same. All fertilizer provided your plants with one or more elements needed to grow and not one type of fertilizer is the best choice in every situation. Continue reading

Edible gardening is becoming more and more popular with each passing season and for good reason. Its more then just the benefit of growing your own food, its more then the health benefits that comes from not only eating healthier but the exercises that working in the garden provides, its also in part that if designed correctly they can be pretty to look at as well. Continue reading