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Expert Advice on Designing Your Ideal Garden: An Interview with Carol Cuoco of Landscape Design by Carol

By Carol Cuoco

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Landscape Design by Carol is a design-only firm that specializes in conceptual designs for residential property. We also offer our clients garden consultations, planting plans for garden beds and containers, and nursery walks to help you understand your options and the choices available.

Can you briefly describe the main steps of designing or updating your garden?

A landscape designer works with you to listen to your goals and objectives, evaluate the visual and spacial assets and constraints of your property, and to discuss your options. As the plan evolves, you will be able to visualize and understand what is feasible for your space, taking into account your objectives, budget and the current conditions of your garden. Your wish list will help you to plan your outdoor space to serve your needs and expectations, whether that is a space that will become an extension of your home or to provide an attractive view from the windows looking into the garden, or both.

What are some of the biggest challenges that homeowners in Southern California face when it comes to garden design?

We have the same gardening issues that people face across the country, including pests, less-than-desirable soil in some locations and weather variables. Our main challenges currently, however, deal with our lack of rainfall. This has fostered new conversations and ideas about zone-appropriate plant choices, innovative irrigation techniques that might include drip and updated sprinkler heads, water harvesting and how we can conserve our water usage, in general.

How do people choose plants with the right look and growing profile for their garden?

Every garden must start with the soil; proper amendments and the addition of compost and other organic material. The next step is to evaluate the sun exposure and existing irrigation. With this information in hand, it is time to step back and define the style you want to bring to your outdoor space, taking into consideration the architectural style of your home and your interior design.

What options are available for people who don't have a lot of privacy in their yard because it's too close to the neighbors, not fenced in, etc.?

There are all types of options to create a more private environment, including hedge material, espalier, vines and newer fencing/privacy materials such as metal.

What advice do you have for homeowners who have a smaller garden and want to make the most of the space?

Really spend time in your garden and observe the sun exposure to the sides of structures, walls and fences. Oftentimes, we can raise a garden up along a wall or structure to "catch" the sunlight that is available. Also, include objects or creative plant groupings that will catch the eye of visitors to your garden and make the space more interesting. To make it more interesting, takes less focus off the smaller size of the garden/property.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Please contact us by email to or by phone at (949) 698-8447.

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