Coordinating a building project is like fitting together pieces of a complicated puzzle. One piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is landscape design. For several years, we have turned to Dinah Irino to advise us. She started her own landscape design business, Floravista, in 1994. Her clients include California Water Service, Pasadera, and several produce companies. Dinah currently teaches a class at Monterey Peninsula College on Irrigation Design and Water Economy.
- Q: What makes a good landscape design?
- A: It is a balance of choosing the right plants for the site environmentally and ascetically, with a concern for sustainability. Environmentally, one must look at the location to determine soil type, wind, amount of sun exposure, slope, and climate zone. Ascetically, you choose plants that will complement the building and provide pleasing views. This involves a balance of form, color, texture, and personal taste.
- Q: How do you decide what plants to specify?
- A: I always interview the client to determine what “look” they want to create. With our Mediterranean climate there is a huge plant palette from which to choose. So whether you want native, formal, cottage, drought tolerant, or a tropical look; it can be done. Obviously, there are also many plants that will not grow here, but substitutes can be made to get the look you want and still be sustainable.
- Q: What is a current trend in landscape design?
- A: Today’s focus is on water use. People are asking for a more native, drought tolerant, and sustainable landscapes. My class at MPC on Sustainable Landscaping is very popular. Also, huge advances have been made in irrigation equipment and practices. Controllers are now available that can adjust automatically for changes in the weather and drip irrigation has been perfected to replace many spray irrigation systems.
Contact Dinah at Floravista: (831) 663-3652