September 2016 - Fall is on the way! 

Erigeron karvinskianus (Santa Barbara Daisy) and Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue Eyed Grass) - two long-blooming, summer-dry, garden highlights. Our California native daisies and their cultivars can bloom April through December, keeping understory beds and borders cheery into the winter. Read more about Erigeron species below. 

Upcoming Events with EBMUD

Capture Your Rainwater and Graywater Workshop

Saturday September 24, 2016 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond CA 94804

Redirect your water to create a beautiful and productive garden!   Learn from graywater and rain garden experts on how to capture rainwater, stormwater, and graywater to irrigate your landscape. This workshop will cover simple do-it-yourself designs and systems. Informational tables, hands-on activities and light refreshments included.  
Cost:  Free

Drip Irrigation Basics

Saturday September 17, 2016 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
5366 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

Install drip irrigation to save water while keeping your plants healthy and thriving! From the water main and valves to lateral lines and smart controllers, this seminar for home gardeners covers the essentials of designing efficient, durable, and lasting drip irrigation systems. Join Landscape Designer and author Douglas Kent, who brings 30 years of experience in the landscaping Industry, and learn the tools needed for installing drip irrigation at your home.
Cost: Free

Understanding Our Seasons - Wet and Dry

New Growth in the
Spring & Fall

A fundamental difference between California and the rest of the country is our unique "Mediterranean" weather pattern. Officially, our state has the typical four seasons, but California gardeners quickly learn that there are really two growing seasons (fall and spring), and two general weather patterns (dry summers and wet winters).  

Getting to know our local climate patterns means better understanding your landscape, it's needs, and it's shining moments.  As we finish off our dry and dormant season and pant through our long, hot, end-of-summer days, we look to the skies and hope for seasonal rains to nourish our landscapes this fall and winter seasons. Read more here about California's seasons. 

Do you love bulbs? Daffodils and Lilies, Narcissus, Iris and Crocus? Read here for more tips on Fall bulb-planting! 

No-Fail Fall Planting 

Get ready to plant, plant, plant! The soil is warm, the sun is low in the sky, and the rains are about to fall – making autumn the best season to get your new plants into the ground!

In fall, days are short – even if they’re still occasionally hot (which you can count on in California). If you do still need to irrigate, you don’t have to worry if the water will evaporate before reaching your plants – it’ll soak into the ground, even lasting a long time because the sun won’t dry out the earth (or your plants) so much. Read more here about planting in the fall. 

For some techniques and tips check out this guide from Plant California, and get your new plants in the ground this season! 

Tree "Topping" - A Fall Foible

Autumn and spring are traditional seasons for landscape and garden pruning, but it’s important to recognize the different demands placed on the activity during each.

One reason for pruning in fall is what’s often called “corrective pruning.” Essentially, it means removing branches that interfere with the rest of your landscape, e.g. those that are interfering with other plants or that might cause damage to your home during storms.

Another reason is to unburden trees of damaged or diseased limbs. As those may pose a danger to the tree itself, pruning them will actually contribute to the overall health of the plant. Judicious removals can also allow in more light and reduce the need for pesticides.

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.” Topping is often used to reduce the size of a tree.

A homeowner may feel that a tree has become too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may pose an unacceptable risk. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce future risk. In fact, topping will increase risk in the long term.


When it comes to topping your trees in the fall, experts agree - topping destroys the balance between the roots and crown of a tree. Removing too many branches and leaves can starve trees because without foliage, trees cannot make enough food to maintain their strength.

  • THIS ONLINE GUIDE from the International Arboriculture Society highlights some reasons why topping hurts trees - including impacting their aesthic value. 
  • Angie's List official blog put out THIS ARTICLE with lots of great info on why tree-topping is falling out of maintenance practices.
  • And of course, if you are planning on pruning your trees and shrubs this fall, it doesn't hurt to brush up on your technique. Check out THIS GUIDE for a refresher.  
  • For tree inspections & pruning, always hire a tree-care company that employs CERTIFIED ARBORISTS. 


A season of change, Autumn is on it's way. And like the seasons, things at SFLA are always changing (and growing)!

Lucky for us, after woking hard all summer, our intern Ian Elsborg will continue on with us this fall while he pursues his Landscape Architecture AA at Oakland's Merritt College.  Go Ian!

We have been joined by another new face - Landscape Architect Todd Young. Since 1990, Todd has designed and managed numerous public and private projects in the Bay Area throughout his Landscape Architecture career. His public sector projects include master planning, park development and renovation, streetscape beautification, downtown revitalization, education facilities K-12 and community college and corporate campuses, sports facilities, creek restoration and trails. Welcome Todd! 




Erigeron glaucus x 'Wayne Roderick' Daisy as a border.  See more at the Las Pilitas website.

Coming Up Daisies - A few fantastic Erigeron species

Providing cheer nearly year around!

Erigeron glaucus 'Cape Sebastian' is beautiful perennial for small gardens, borders, or butterfly gardens. Well liked by many types of butterflies that are native along the coast. Part-shade or afternoon shade inland, full sun near coast. Bolts with summer heat regularly above 105 F.

Erigeron glaucus x 'Wayne Roderick' has smaller, smoother, shinier leaves, and a more compact habit than the species, so is valued more for ornamental plantings. 'Wayne Roderick' attracts many pollinators and butterflies.

Erigeron karvinskianus - Santa Barbara Daisy is a trailing groundcover that beautifully cascades over walls or pots. It spreads 3-5 feet wide and grows 1-2 feet tall. The small white and pink daisies with a touch of pink bloom almost year-round. It looks its best in a cool spot with sun to light shade. It can be invasive with moderate water, but it will take poor soil and drought and performs best if cut down periodically.

Cold hardy to about 15 to 20 degrees F. with flowers adored by bees and tiny beneficial flies and wasps. It prefers a coastal climate and the interior heat of summer does make it shut down. But, as soon as the weather is a cool again in fall, it perks right up and blooms until hard frost.  


We are happy to help you and your landscape through the drought with intelligent, water-conserving irrigation solutions.

A landscape water survey includes:

  • An inspection of your current irrigation system for efficiency and leaks
  • A customized irrigation schedule that makes sense for your system, climate, soil and plant types
  • A personalized water budget for your landscape based on your needs and local municipal requirements
  • Specialized recommendations for your property and micro-climates.   

Not only will smart water management reduce water waste, lower your water bills and save money - it also means healthier, longer lived plants, and a better return on your landscape investment.

QWEL certified professionals have been trained on principals of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation. 

CONSERVATION IS STILL ESSENTIAL (and in many cases mandatory!)

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Susan Friedman Landscape Architecture · 4 Crow Canyon Ct. · #205 · San Ramon, CA 94583 · USA

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