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Nothing timid about it; bold trellis and tile create a shaded place for entertaining.

Bold trellis and tile create a shaded place for entertaining. And this garden is water saving

Does this Irvine garden foretell the future of California landscaping? Possibly. It combines functional, attractive structures, easy-care surfaces, and just a few well-displayed, low-water-use plants.

The owners and designers of the garden, Suzanne and Rudy Svrcek, did not concentrate primarily on saving water; they aimed instead at creating shade and a place for entertaining, in a garden with a Southwestern look. But the plants they selected also happen to be heroically

drought resistant.

The Svrceks' water-conserving plants are in three areas. A ground-level planter cut into the tile patio contains a number of succulents. A raised planter along the outside of the patio holds low-growing baccharis and tall blue palo verde (the latter for sun-screening and privacy).

The garden's focal point is a sandy berm dotted with barrel and saguaro cactus. The tall saguaros never need watering. The squat barrel cactus could get by unirrigated, but the Svrceks water them occasion ally to keep them green and plump. During midyear, all the other plants get watered every 7 to 14 days, depending on weather, and only once or twice from October to March.

There is nothing timid about the size and detailing of the columns and trellis. Rather than more slender 2- or 4-inch-thick posts and beams, the Svrceks used massive6-by-10s on thick columns, in scale with the two-story tract house.
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Date:May 1, 1989
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