Backyard Bliss: Your Guide to Low-Maintenance Landscaping in LA

Tacos & Tequila


Creating a beautiful outdoor space that doesn't guzzle water or require major upkeep can be a challenge in Los Angeles. But with some strategic moves, it's absolutely possible to create magazine-worthy curb appeal while keeping it low maintenance. The entire SBP team knows exactly how to help clients achieve the landscape look of their dreams, while keeping it hassle-free.

In fact, F. Ron and David recently helped homeowners Bonnie & Nick S. create the ultimate drought-friendly oasis for their mid-century modern home at 805 Leonard Road. We sat down with the couple for insights into their vision and how it enhances their living experience. Plus, we’ve compiled insider tips & tricks for crafting your very own low-maintenance outdoor space here in LA. Now let’s dig in (pun intended).

805 Leonard Road

F. Ron Smith: What was your overall vision and inspiration for the landscaping when renovating?

Bonnie & Nick: When we moved to LA from NY, Ron and David helped us buy our Brentwood dream house — an untouched 1966 mid-century modern designed by the architect Robert Earl. As we began renovations, we took a deep dive into mid-century architecture and landscaping, in an effort to learn not just how to renovate, but how to restore what we could.

David Berg: How did your landscaping goals and priorities evolve through the design process?

Bonnie & Nick: As far as landscaping goes, we learned that many mid-century homes were originally sold without landscaping in place, leaving it up to the homeowners. Most opted for clean lines, neat lawns, and easy entertaining. After a tour of mid-century houses in Palm Springs and some rumination, we decided to go this route too, using as our main inspiration the classic photos by Slim Aarons of Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs.

Bonnie & Nick's Inspiration. Image:

F. Ron: What are some of your favorite features or areas of the final landscaping?

Bonnie & Nick: We cleared out 60 plus years of vines and started fresh. We went with high-quality turf for our front and back yards, drought-resistant plants on our hill, and added a sleek outdoor kitchen. Then we made Ron's dreams come true by installing a dramatic fountain inside the stone wall by our front door. (LOL) Our wonderful landscaper, Ricardo Hernandez, added value when he suggested planting jasmine on one wall and camellia on another.

David: Which low-maintenance elements or materials are you most happy with incorporating?

Bonnie & Nick: No mowing and no watering — it doesn’t suck.

F. Ron: Now that it's all complete, how does the revamped landscaping enhance your outdoor living experience?

Bonnie & Nick: We may fill things out a bit as time passes — we’re considering adding some fruit trees — but we’ll see. The organic garden that Victory Garden LA helped us build is keeping us busy enough. We’re deep in carrots, and the tomatoes are going in this week.

David: For others embarking on a landscape renovation, what advice would you give about balancing aesthetics with low-maintenance needs?

Bonnie & Nick: We have to say, clean, low-maintenance landscaping is the way to go.

805 Leonard Road


Minimize the Lawn

Traditional grass lawns are incredibly thirsty and need constant mowing, edging, and maintenance. And let’s not forget about the harmful effects that fertilizer and pesticides can have. Reducing or eliminating lawn areas in favor of artificial turf or hardscape like decorative concrete, pavers, or decomposed granite can create beautiful outdoor living spaces that are amazingly low maintenance. 

11318 Farlin Street

Embrace Succulents

Succulents were made for LA landscapes. Varieties like agave, cacti, and echeveria thrive in our climate with their water-storing leaves and stems. They thrive in our climate and only need a drink occasionally once they're settled in. Consider mixing in some other drought-tolerant natives like sages and manzanitas, too.

475 20th Street

Upgrade to Smart Irrigation

While an investment upfront, smart irrigation controllers are well worth it. These automated systems adjust the watering schedule based on weather data, soil conditions, and plant needs to prevent overwatering. They maximize efficiency and ensure everything gets just the right amount of hydration.

1466 San Remo Drive

Put Mulch to Work

Don't underestimate the benefits of a thick mulch layer (3-4 inches) around your plants. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and prevents weeds from taking over your garden beds. As it decomposes over time, it also enriches the soil. Replenish annually using organic mulches like bark, wood chips, or straw.

475 20th Street

Have an outdoor space that needs some work? Get in touch with us at [email protected] and let’s see how we can help! 


Get Tacos & Tequila Direct to Your Inbox


Each member of our team is uniquely qualified with the expertise, relationships and focus to represent buyers, sellers, developers, investors, business and entertainment managers, and all others interested in the opportunity to be a part of the Los Angeles real estate dream.

Contact Us

Follow Us on Instagram