What is La Loma's Design + Construction Process?
SITE ANALYSIS AND PLANNING
The first and most important step in designing and building an eco-friendly landscape is site analysis. The existing vegetation, sun aspect, ground slope, water availability, soil type, wind direction, views, noise sources, and privacy concerns all affect the type of plants that can be used and where they can be planted. How will the client use the landscape? (Ornamental, a play area for children, vegetable gardening, erosion control, wildlife habitat, or climate control?) The site restrictions and the clients’ desires shape the project.
THE RIGHT PLANT IN THE RIGHT PLACE
When designing the plant layout we pay close attention to microclimates that can make a small corner of your property more suited for one type of plant than another. Plants with similar cultivation requirements are grouped together. We use California native plants or plants from other Mediterranean climate regions wherever possible and space them to allow them to reach their mature size without crowding. A very important point to remember: Avoid invasive plants! Here is a link to useful page from the California Invasive Plant Council that lists invasive plants in our region.
We believe that attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife to landscapes makes the landscapes more interesting and ecologically beneficial. Thus La Loma uses native plants that serve as food, shelter, and water sources for wildlife. Using hundreds of different species of native and Mediterranean plants help create harmony between the client’s landscape and the surrounding environment.
MANAGE OUR MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE
One of the keys to sustainable landscaping is to group plants with similar water requirements together. Some of the products and services we provide for our clients to ensure that they are using water as efficiently as possible are: installing and inspecting weather-based irrigation controllers and reprogramming them the weather changes, checking irrigation systems regularly for leaks, adjusting emitters and sprinkler heads to minimize overspray, and using low-flow drip or micro-spray irrigation systems. The Metropolitan Water District has a very useful site with information about water conservation and the rebates that exist to help people purchase water-conserving equipment.
Knowing when and how to prune is one of the more refined skills of our professional garden managers at La Loma. Proper pruning of trees and shrubs is essential to help them develop a strong structure and desirable form. At La Loma we encourage clients to stay on top of pruning for the first 3-5 years of shrubs and trees lives since plants that are pruned properly when they are young will require little corrective pruning when they mature.
At La Loma we use hand tools instead of gas or electric powered tools whenever possible. Minimizing the air and noise pollution from blowers and other powered tools is another aspect of our commitment to minimizing our environmental impact in everything we do.
NO EXPOSED SOIL
Covering exposed soil with mulch reduces the need for weeding and watering by decreasing the rate of evaporation from the soil. It also moderates the soil temperature and helps improve the microbial life and organic matter content in the soil.
HEALTHY SOIL=HEALTHY PLANTS
Compost builds healthy soil, and healthy soil creates healthy plants that grow bigger and faster and are less susceptible to attack by insects and diseases. Adding compost to the soil is one of the most important things La Loma does to ensure an optimal environment for plants.
I.P.M. (INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT)
The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 (California Assembly Bill 2260) defines Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) as “a pest management strategy that focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems through a combination of techniques such as monitoring for pest presence and establishing treatment threshold levels, using non-chemical practices to make the habitat less conducive to pest development, improving sanitation, and employing mechanical and physical controls.” La Loma uses I.P.M. to manage pest pressure and maintain healthy landscapes while minimizing the use of dangerous chemicals that disrupt the surrounding ecosystem.
USE RENEWABLE MATERIALS
La Loma is the leader in the use of broken concrete as a design element. We also use recycled lumber, bamboo and other renewable materials to minimize the ecological footprint of our projects.