Bringing Joy to the Garden with Artful Garden Consulting

Customized and Handpainted Garden Art

Transforming ordinary every day items into spectacular visual pieces of garden art.

Succulent Dish Gardens

Succulents pair well with almost any style and size container. Their forms when placed next to one another enhance their individual colors and textures all while complimenting the shape, style, color and texture of the vessel.

Themed Container Plantings

Holidays, special occasions, and life events allow for a broad range of styles to be incorporated in container plantings from whimsy to elegance.

Before and After Succulent Dish Gardens

Succulents have a way of bringing new life to items that would otherwise create cluttered eyesores in our homes or go unnecessarily to a landfill.

Garden Thresholds

Both passages, entries and exits, can be made to feel extra special despite the short span of time required to pass through them.

Floral Design

"...We really wanted something that would last past the day-of and loved the idea of sharing a piece of our big day with our closest friends and family."

Signage

Hand-crafted signage.

Garden Vignettes

Garden vignettes are small areas of a larger garden that provide a single use or multiple functions.

Murals and More

A blank wall or a mundane concrete walking surface is easily transformed to become aesthetically pleasing and beautiful with paint.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Houses on a Steep Slope in Graphite

Houses on a Steep Slope in Graphite

The Power of the Pencil

Concept Drawing

Concept Drawing

Colored Pencil Concept Drawing

Colored Pencil Concept Drawing

Concept drawings

This planting bed was such a small space that multiple drawings from different vantage points were unnecessary.

Not every project receives a colored concept drawing but the terra cotta pot was to remain in the composition dictating the need to have the color of the pot repeated throughout the design with the foliage or bloom color of the selected plants.

Before plant installation

Before plant installation

After installation and before the application of rock top dressing

After installation and before the application of rock top dressing

Low water-use plant & succulent planting

The homeowner for this small planting bed asked for the design to be approached in the same manner that container gardens are approached using the design elements of thriller (tall accent plant), filler (mid-level plants), spiller (plants that are low-growing or spill over the edge).

A Beagle resides on this property who has free reign in the backyard running through the planting beds and frequently takes naps in them. This required the selection of plants that were not prone to snapping when brushed against, or that contained spines or toxic sap.

Traditional landscape design services offer a landscape plan to the homeowner, which shows a birds-eye view of the property identifying structures and hardscape in outline form and plants in varying sizes of circles. I approach the process by supplying the client with a plant list and then take photos of the areas needing new plantings. Next, I print the photos in black and white on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, place tracing paper over the printed photos and draw in the existing elements such as fencing or mature trees that will remain on site. Then I execute drawings from different vantage points, if necessary, showing the new plants in their mature sizes in the suggested placement. This allows the homeowner the ability to see what the plants will look like a few years after installation, as if they were standing there in the future.


This Walnut Creek townhouse with a north-facing sloped front yard was planted with turf and had two issues contributing to the failing health of the lawn. The area did not receive enough hours of direct sunlight to keep the lawn lush and the slope caused irregular irrigation. The spotty remnants of turf were removed and aggregate stepping stones, matching the existing hard surfaces, were installed to form a walkway from the front porch to the street. This new walkway would be used often to access a car that the residents frequently parked at curbside.

The homeowner desired a new landscape to flank the driveway that would be low maintenance and thrive in the mostly shaded environment. The newly installed stepping stones were bordered with Liriope spicata 'Silver Dragon' to highlight the path. Taller shrubs were installed in front of the wood fence that when mature will provide some fragrance such as Sarcococca ruscifolia and Daphne odora 'Aureo-marginata'. Both of these shrubs are slow growing and stay at 3'-5' in height preventing the need to prune any time in the near future. A third shrub, Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress',  was planted throughout to provide a different texture that does not exceed a mature height of 3-3 1/2 feet tall.

Linnea is exactly what I was looking for in a landscape designer! She considered all of the site requirements and my desire for a low-maintenance landscape design, gave me lots of options, and based on my preferences came up with a dynamic design including plants with varying height, color, and foliage. I appreciate Linnea's artful approach to landscape design. Her plans are presented like pieces of art while being easy to understand and follow.

Succulent Mini Berms

An added design feature to an existing landscape

Ever heard of or seen a succulent mini berm? I had not but came up with the idea as a solution to an unhappy succulent planting at the home of one of my clients. They had installed succulents at the edge of a couple of planting beds. The succulents were languishing and “pouting” for a number of years. It dawned on me that they were at grade sitting in the native clay soil located where the rain runoff flowed away from the house out to the center of the yard, across or through the beds. The succulents were battling against a condition that was preventing them from thriving and developing to their full potential – planted in soil that was not fast draining and sitting with wet feet for too long. The homeowners were agreeable to experimenting with my suggestion of creating a mini berm built with the proper planting mix for succulents, thereby elevating the plants up above grade. The first step was to remove the existing succulents and dig a trench six inches deep by twelve inches wide. Bancroft Bedding Blend was purchased from Contra Costa Topsoil in Martinez to fill the trench and to mound it to six inches above grade. This now gave the succulents a depth of at least six inches of fast-draining soil depending on where they were installed on the berm – at the top or at the edge.  The bottom two photos show the new mini berm in place prior to the return of the existing succulents mixed in with some new pals to play with. The berms follow the very edge of the planting beds while wending around a select number of more mature plants following a bit of a gently winding and playful path.

The bottom left photo shows the existing succulents back in place and the bottom right photo shows the addition of blue ceramic fish and glass balls scattered about to add color and sparkle to the new garden feature.

It is difficult to see the berm in the next photo prior to the rock top dressing in place, which will make it stand out from the rest of the planting bed. But the photo well illustrates the gently winding path the berm takes by starting behind the Heucheras, moving in front of the Astelia and then back again behind the Carex oshmensis.

Succulent Mini Berm Before Rock Top Dressing

Succulent Mini Berm Before Rock Top Dressing

The next four photos were taken immediately after the new succulents and the rock top dressing were added to the berms. And more garden art - driftwood, a metal Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus), mosaic tiled frog and a pot of succulents at the far end!

The first two succulent mini berms were such a success that the homeowners decided to incorporate a third one next to the front walkway. The photo below left is a detail of one of the first berms and the photo on the right is the berm added to the front walkway.

The succulents in this newest berm have since spread and increased in size as they flourish in their elements of fast-draining soil and rock top dressing!

The succulents in this newest berm have since spread and increased in size as they flourish in their elements of fast-draining soil and rock top dressing!

Garden Vignettes

 

Garden vignettes are small areas of a larger garden that provide a single use or multiple functions, be it sipping a beverage and reading a book, critter or people watching, depending on the location of the vignette - front, side or back yard - enjoying a view or taking a nap. If all else fails, take a nap!

 

 
This miniature succulent garden display came about through the use of broken concrete stepping stones that were used to practice a sponge painting technique

This miniature succulent garden display came about through the use of broken concrete stepping stones that were used to practice a sponge painting technique

The gated entrance to the backyard of this homeowner's property was customized by painting the fence, gate and side of the stucco house to mimic a courtyard of one of his favorite hotels in New Orleans

The gated entrance to the backyard of this homeowner's property was customized by painting the fence, gate and side of the stucco house to mimic a courtyard of one of his favorite hotels in New Orleans

The homeowner of this side yard gated entrance endeavored to create a benched seating area opposite the succulent planted garage windowbox. This enabled her to enjoy a beverage and a beautiful view while waiting for guests to arrive. Beyond the bench, visitors pass through an ivy covered metal arch to gain access to the backyard.

The homeowner of this side yard gated entrance endeavored to create a benched seating area opposite the succulent planted garage windowbox. This enabled her to enjoy a beverage and a beautiful view while waiting for guests to arrive. Beyond the bench, visitors pass through an ivy covered metal arch to gain access to the backyard.

The above two photos show the gradual transformation of the entrance to a hillside garden from July to November. This area was the first sight upon cresting the stairs to a wood deck at the base of several terraces. Prior to the month of July it was a catch-all or a dumping ground for scrap wood, tools, disorganized toys, numerous objects and refuse. By simply removing the jumbled items and slowly relocating metal signs lying in a pile on the ground, metal garden art, and other miscellaneous elements with story-telling potential, garden visitors are now greeted with a scene that puts smiles on their faces.

Condominium Exterior Entryway Redo 

The former planting of azaleas in this small space underneath the open riser concrete staircase, shown on the right in the first photo above, were removed. The azaleas were unable to produce abundant blooms in the low light conditions. The homeowners decided to dress up the area using giant clam shells and succulents that would survive in low light conditions such as Gasteria, Sansevieria, Haworthia, and Aloe hybrids. The above photos were taken on a rainy day. On a sunny day the area will receive brighter light due to the open riser staircase but never any direct sunlight.

The first photo shows the clam shells oriented on the diagonal with the hinged side forward-facing. The second photo shows the clam shells still oriented on the diagonal but turned to highlight the fluted edges. Positioning them in this manner will allow the Senecio rowleyanus, commonly known as String of Pearls, to cascade to the ground. The third and fourth photos were taken after the rock top dressing and existing clay soil were removed. The area was filled with fast draining soil with a high mineral content, crucial for the health of succulents.

The first photo above shows the start of the new fast draining soil being delivered. The second photo shows the space filled with the new soil, the clam shells in their final position and the first in-ground plant installed in the back corner, Sansevieria trifasciata 'Singer's Silver'. The third photo shows a fallen tree limb set in place to add height and interest to the installation. The fourth photo shows all in-ground plants installed and the clam shells planted.

The photo on the left above shows the final plant installation with Spanish Moss added to the cut ends on the smaller branches of the tree limb. The photo on the right above shows the finished installation with the rock top dressing back in place and the entire space lighted for nighttime drama.

Thank you so much for our lovely new garden. We truly are enjoying our new outlook when leaving the house. The light at night adds a lot too. Getting lots of compliments on the garden.

Back Deck Spruce Up

This project originated from the desire of the homeowner to enliven and refresh her back deck. She wanted an inviting and pleasing view when looking out the sliding glass door from the dining room. This was created by placing an outdoor area rug over the deck to bring color, texture, and softness to the space and to conceal the worn wood in need of refinishing. A happy surprise was revealed when the rug was in place. The colors echoed the colors in a stained glass window in the dining room visually pulling the two spaces together.

The next step in providing a welcoming view and destination was to rearrange the existing, mostly empty, pots in relationship to scale, style, shape, and color to know which plants to put in which pots to best feature the plant heights, growth habits, textures, and colors.

POT DETAILS

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Pots to the Right of Deck Steps

The color of the burgundy Cordyline in the back pot echoes the magenta in the rug. The dwarf blue spruce in the left green pot echoes the silver blue in the rug. The bright green of the Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' in the front right pot echoes the bright green in the rug.

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Pots to the Left of Deck Steps

The burgundy Cordyline in the tall blue pot echoes the magenta in the rug as does the purple-leaved Loropetalum in the back right pot. The Adenanthos cuneatus ‘Coral Drift’ in the gold pot repeats more than one of the colors in the rug due to the silver blue-gray tinged leaves with a brighter green near the terminal ends of the stems tipped with a blush of rose. The bright green Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' in the round terra cotta pot echoes the bright green in the rug and the Euphorbia characias 'Silver Swan’ repeats the silver blue in the rug. The existing plant in the square pot had sentimental value so was not replaced to conform with the palette.

After the completion of the project the homeowner expressed the following,

I had no idea how glum things looked at the start. You are truly a marvel! You are amazing.

1.     Glum: [ɡləm]

ADJECTIVE

glummer (comparative adjective) · glummest (superlative adjective)

1.     looking or feeling dejected; morose.

ORIGIN

mid 16th century: related to dialect glum ‘to frown’, variant of gloom.

Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · Bing Translator

Succulent Planted Retaining Wall

The following photos show progressive images of the transformation of a retaining wall planting that took place over a ten month period. The existing succulents had been set behind the landscape blocks and left in their original nursery pots for ten years. They never received any supplemental watering beyond winter rainfall. The backfill behind the landscape blocks was the existing native clay – not fast draining soil preferred by succulents. To create a habitat more conducive to the conditions that most succulents prefer, a fast-draining, mineral-based mix was added immediately behind the blocks to a depth of at least six inches. Next the succulents were removed from their pots and laid out in an alternating pattern highlighting their species growth habits – echeverias, aloes, and aeoniums. A few new succulents were purchased to add interest and were interspersed into the planting layout.

The above first two photos from top left, moving right, show the succulent wall prior to the start of the project. The next three photos were taken during the first work day. The following three photos were taken a number of months after the completion of the project. A decorative rock top dressing was applied to the surface of the soil to give the installation a finished look and to protect the succulent plant tissues from absorbing excessive amounts of moisture during winter rains. The bottom two photos are BEFORE and AFTER images.

June 2018

June 2018

June 2019

June 2019

Garden Thresholds

 

Transitional spaces such as passing through a gate or arch, when designed in a welcoming manner, can have a powerful effect on our psyche. Both passages, entries and exits, can be made to feel extra special despite the short span of time required for us to pass through them. Elements of wonder, delight and surprise can be utilized to increase our enjoyment of these transitional spaces making us feel transported to another time and place.

 

 
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Same arched entrance

Several years later!

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Double Threshold Side Yard Entry. There are two thresholds located at this gated entrance. The wood lattice gate serves as the first threshold which has been complimented with a flagstone path, succulent plantings to the left and an elegant concealed trash bin enclosure to the right. Immediately beyond the trash enclosure is a cedar bench and table giving the homeowner a place of rest and reflection. The metal arch creates a second transition through the space as visitors enter the back yard patio containing two seating areas.

Double Threshold Side Yard Entry. There are two thresholds located at this gated entrance. The wood lattice gate serves as the first threshold which has been complimented with a flagstone path, succulent plantings to the left and an elegant concealed trash bin enclosure to the right. Immediately beyond the trash enclosure is a cedar bench and table giving the homeowner a place of rest and reflection. The metal arch creates a second transition through the space as visitors enter the back yard patio containing two seating areas.

Succulent Dish Gardens

 

Succulents pair well with almost any style and size container. Their forms when placed next to one another enhance their individual colors and textures all while complimenting the shape, style, color and texture of the vessel.

 

 

 
Mixed planting with Mangave, Cordyline, and Beschorneria

Mixed planting with Mangave, Cordyline, and Beschorneria

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This copper multi-branched tree limb sculpture illustrates design elements such as repetition by repeating the colors of the metal sculpture with the plants. The  Rhipsalis  repeats the brass soldering, the  Cryptbergia  'Red Burst' repeats the warm reddish tones of the copper as do the red tips of the  Gasterias . Repetition is used also by installing the same varieties of plants in more than one cavity. A second design element used was scale by the placing larger plants in the larger areas of the sculpture and smaller plants in the smaller areas. Notice the larger and visually heavier plants at the base of the sculpture at the bottom right serving to anchor the piece.

This copper multi-branched tree limb sculpture illustrates design elements such as repetition by repeating the colors of the metal sculpture with the plants. The Rhipsalis repeats the brass soldering, the Cryptbergia 'Red Burst' repeats the warm reddish tones of the copper as do the red tips of the Gasterias. Repetition is used also by installing the same varieties of plants in more than one cavity. A second design element used was scale by the placing larger plants in the larger areas of the sculpture and smaller plants in the smaller areas. Notice the larger and visually heavier plants at the base of the sculpture at the bottom right serving to anchor the piece.

Succulent filled Redwood Box with Jelly Palm Sheath Backdrop

Succulent filled Redwood Box with Jelly Palm Sheath Backdrop

Succulent Planted Ceramic Feline

Succulent Planted Ceramic Feline

Succulents in silver

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Before and After Succulent Dish Gardens

 

Many of the projects illustrated in this section show the transformation of objects in our lives that have outlived their original design purposes. Succulents have a way of bringing new life to items that would otherwise create cluttered eyesores in our homes or go unnecessarily to a landfill.

 

 

This 1947-1954 Chevy Grill was turned upside down and backed with plastic board to create soil reservoirs for the installation of succulents. Wait for it...

1947-1954 Chevy Grill with a new life!

Da da! Here it is, in all its succulent glory.

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This old painted copper mailbox was replaced with a new solid copper mailbox and was given a new life filled with succulents.

This old painted copper mailbox was replaced with a new solid copper mailbox and was given a new life filled with succulents.

New Life bursting with succulents!

The old mailbox is currently displayed on the ground next to the new mailbox with a cheery new message.

This approximately 100 year old family heirloom was given a new face lift. This was achieved by sealing the wood handle and planting the metal bucket with a mix of succulent and non-succulent plants that would echo the color of the enamel.

This approximately 100 year old family heirloom was given a new face lift. This was achieved by sealing the wood handle and planting the metal bucket with a mix of succulent and non-succulent plants that would echo the color of the enamel.

This poolside planted pot went from sad to spectacular in its full sun exposure. This was achieved by replacing the tired Chrysanthemum with a variety of sun-loving succulents pulled from multiple containers scattered around the property that had no visual appeal on their own. Now the pot shouts with glee to “Look at Me!”.

Water Fountain turned Succulent Fountain

California’s 5-Year drought fueled the inspiration for transforming the below water fountain into a stunning succulent container feature - a large container at over six feet in height. The fountain is located at the end of a long walkway that makes a sharp right turn to the homeowners front entry. It was originally planted by The Ruth Bancroft Garden Nursery staff in May 2016. A truckload of mature plants was brought in to source from throughout the planting process. The homeowners were not interested in having juvenile plants installed, which would force them to wait for the plants to grow into the space. They wished to have instant impact. This technique produces a shorter life to the planting. Succulents do not mind being over crowded but depending on the species, they can eventually overpower a container and produce an unbalanced or lopsided effect causing the need to replace them sooner. More frequent pinching or pruning is required to maintain the compact, bushy appearance. Overgrown succulents can become lanky and unsightly. Succulents with more aggressive growth habits can crowd out succulents with more delicate foliage and/or slower growth rates.

The photo on the right above shows the first tier planted with Lomandra ‘Lime Tuff’, Yucca gloriosa ‘Tiny Star’, Cotyledon orbiculata, and Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’. Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ and Oscularia deltoides are added later.

The second tier is shown here with the plants still in their nursery pots as a “dry run” to know how to arrange them to best highlight their forms, colors and textures. Another consideration when positioning plants is to place them on the side of the container that has the proper light exposure. Some succulents can handle direct summer sun and others cannot. Their tissues will scar and not heal. The more direct sunlight-shy plants are placed on the northeasterly section of the fountain where they will have more protection.

The second tier is shown here with the plants still in their nursery pots as a “dry run” to know how to arrange them to best highlight their forms, colors and textures. Another consideration when positioning plants is to place them on the side of the container that has the proper light exposure. Some succulents can handle direct summer sun and others cannot. Their tissues will scar and not heal. The more direct sunlight-shy plants are placed on the northeasterly section of the fountain where they will have more protection.

Voila! Finished fountain…the first planting.

A year later in April 2017 a few plants had failed and needed to be replaced as illustrated by the flagged areas in the below photos.

The next two photos were taken the same month following the installation of the replacement plants.

Two years passed after the replacement plants were installed and it was time to empty the entire fountain of all plants and soil and start anew. Succulents that were still healthy and robust were reused. Both basins were filled with newly purchased soil.  The bottom left photo shows the fountain completely emptied and the right photo shows the pile of salvaged succulents for reuse.

The next two photos show the fountain in its new found glory in April of 2019.

The Approach

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Subsequent Three Months - May through July

Themed Container Plantings

 

Holidays, special occasions, and life events allow for a broad range of styles to be incorporated in container plantings from whimsy to elegance.

 

 
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Wild and Wacky Jack-O-Lantern

The owner of this ceramic Jack-O-Lantern asked to have her container filled with a wild and crazy planting of succulents. Succulents in warm autumnal tones of deep gold, orange, rust and brown were paired with the gray-green of the Aloe plicatilis and dried plant material. Screening was used inside far enough behind the eyes and nose to keep the planting a sufficient distance back so that a battery operated candle could be placed inside, allowing the arrangement to serve as a luminary. 

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Circus Theme - Clown Shoe and Popcorn

The Clown Shoe was a solid gray concrete planter. Nothing special to look at. The owner asked to have it painted to look like a clown shoe. The popcorn bucket was added to the arrangement to complete a circus theme and planted with a sedum suggesting the bucket was filled and overflowing with buttered popcorn.

You've Got Mail!

This repurposed metal mailbox was replaced with a solid copper vintage mailbox. The owner chose to not send the old mailbox to the landfill and asked to have it planted. It now resides on the ground near the base of the mailbox post, creating a playful nod to its new use in its retirement.

Succulent Planted Plastic Skull

Succulent Planted Plastic Skull

RE-PURPOSED WEBER GRILL

This Weber Grill was replaced with a newer model by the griller extraordinaire. He gifted the retired grill to be transformed into a planter filled with succulents suggesting that something edible was actually being grilled. This was represented by five Echeveria ‘Black Night’ reminiscent of beef patties, Crassula ‘Campfire’ mimicking flames, the orange-red flowering Delosperma suggesting flying embers and red lava rock giving the impression of burning hot charcoal briquettes.

Floral Design

 

"Linnea is a succulent genius! My husband and I met with her to create living succulent arrangements to be used as the centerpieces for our wedding. We really wanted something that would last past the day-of and loved the idea of sharing a piece of our big day with our closest friends and family. We had purchased 6 stone containers that we liked the color and style of since they were low and round but essentially left everything else to Linnea - and we were not disappointed. She really blew us away with her expertise and her attention to detail. You can tell that Linnea has a great eye for color and design because she put these together so meticulously, we honestly wouldn’t change a single thing. We came to see the progress about a month before and we were so pleased that we asked if she could create another piece from a teapot and creamer we had to tie in our tea theme and head our sweetheart table. They looked so incredibly adorable and whimsical and everyone loved this detail that meant so much to us. The centerpieces looked simply stunning on each table that evening and really pulled the whole thing together. Better yet, our guests loved that they had a beautiful living arrangement to grow in their garden as a memory of this day - and I’m glad we kept one too because it is so lovely to look at and reminds us of the best day of our lives. Thank you, Linnea!"

 

 
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Fall Decorated Squash

Paddy Pan Squash

These squash were sponge painted with metallic acrylic paints prior to being adorned with green moss, succulent cuttings, dried plant material, seed pods, acorns and more.

 

The following images are of store bought wood birdhouses that were hand-painted and then decorated with succulent cuttings. They are placed in the Floral Design section because their decorative purpose is shorter lived than succulent dish gardens. The succulent cuttings are glued in place and can be removed at the time when they show signs of desiccation and/or etiolation.

Faux floral

These two arrangements were assembled to be displayed up high, above kitchen cabinets. The colors of the bird decals on the containers were repeated in the pears, grapes, the golden chrysanthemums and the centers of the sunflowers. The mint background of the containers is repeated in the hydrangeas and the petals of the sunflowers as well as the mint-colored grassy foliage.

These two arrangements were assembled to be displayed up high, above kitchen cabinets. The colors of the bird decals on the containers were repeated in the pears, grapes, the golden chrysanthemums and the centers of the sunflowers. The mint background of the containers is repeated in the hydrangeas and the petals of the sunflowers as well as the mint-colored grassy foliage.

Customized and Hand-painted Garden Art

 

Items on this page demonstrate my painting skills and ability to transform ordinary every day items into spectacular visual pieces of garden art such as concrete stepping stones, concrete landscape blocks, walkways, patios, fences and any surface that will accept paint.

 

 
A progression of Day of The Dead Catrina wall planter can be found in the Themed Container Plantings section. The original unit was one color throughout - the brownish olive of the man-made composite. Her transformation included the painting of her face in addition to holes being drilled into the sides of her head. This enabled the plantings to resemble a headdress framing her face.

A progression of Day of The Dead Catrina wall planter can be found in the Themed Container Plantings section. The original unit was one color throughout - the brownish olive of the man-made composite. Her transformation included the painting of her face in addition to holes being drilled into the sides of her head. This enabled the plantings to resemble a headdress framing her face.

Handpainted Concrete STEPPING STONES

The final five in all their glory! They rest on top of the gravel to the left of the front entry for all guests to enjoy.

Custom Hand-painted Market Umbrella

Custom Hand-painted Market Umbrella

The homeowner of this backyard concrete patio could not tolerate plain gray concrete and had a strong aversion to having real flagstone installed knowing that debris would constantly collect in the mortared joints. The homeowner was also interested in having a very multi-colored surface that would be impossible to achieve with stone. The surface is flush, collecting no debris, and includes almost every color of the rainbow with the exception of pink and purple.

The homeowner of this backyard concrete patio could not tolerate plain gray concrete and had a strong aversion to having real flagstone installed knowing that debris would constantly collect in the mortared joints. The homeowner was also interested in having a very multi-colored surface that would be impossible to achieve with stone. The surface is flush, collecting no debris, and includes almost every color of the rainbow with the exception of pink and purple.

 

Murals and More

Murals are powerful additions to almost any indoor or outdoor space. They can trick or fool the eye into perceiving a more expansive view beyond the actual boundaries of the area. Techniques such as trompe l'oeil or "illusion painting" are used to create this optical illusion of depth. These tools of visual deception can not only provide spatial illusion but also tactile and textural impressions using realistic imagery applied in extremely fine detail. Murals can also simply be ornamental or decorative in function by the use of patterns or two-dimensional renderings rather than 3D.

 
A Tran’s Bay Bike Shop Back Door Custom Mural Entrance located on Treasure Island 

A Tran’s Bay Bike Shop Back Door Custom Mural Entrance located on Treasure Island 

Revitalized and custom painted market umbrella

Revitalized and custom painted market umbrella

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Mural Detail

On adjacent wall

 
 

Signage

 

There are many reasons to incorporate one or more custom hand-painted signs into the décor of a once-in-a-lifetime event or cyclical events. They have the power to imbue a special quality to the festivities; they can blend in with existing themes to provide cohesiveness and continuity; they have the ability to be fashioned in unusual shapes and non-standard sizes; and they add striking, eye-catching imagery that is impossible to go unnoticed.

 

 
The Landscape Horticulture Department at Merritt College in Oakland needed a highly visible event parking sign. A portion of the department logo was used to maintain identity and high contrast colors were applied to stand out. The sign was hand painted using acrylics and then sealed with an exterior sealer. Letter stencils were intentionally not used in an attempt to promote a hand crafted look.

The Landscape Horticulture Department at Merritt College in Oakland needed a highly visible event parking sign. A portion of the department logo was used to maintain identity and high contrast colors were applied to stand out. The sign was hand painted using acrylics and then sealed with an exterior sealer. Letter stencils were intentionally not used in an attempt to promote a hand crafted look.

A soil science instructor, during one of her lectures, expressed the desire to have a poster-sized version of the above pH ( potenz Hydrogen , a phrase meaning the “power of hydrogen” or the “potential of hydrogen”) scale. The above image is painted onto a 32" x 40" sheet of mat board. The scale is on the wall of the classroom as a teaching tool to show students how soil pH affects the   nutrient availability and form  , which is vital to plants.

A soil science instructor, during one of her lectures, expressed the desire to have a poster-sized version of the above pH (potenz Hydrogen, a phrase meaning the “power of hydrogen” or the “potential of hydrogen”) scale. The above image is painted onto a 32" x 40" sheet of mat board. The scale is on the wall of the classroom as a teaching tool to show students how soil pH affects the nutrient availability and form, which is vital to plants.

Do you have a special event requiring a colorful painting of the guest of honor's name? Or any other message you would like to convey in a bold manner? This name sign was painted with acrylics in a freehand style without the use of a preliminary sketch or line drawing.

Do you have a special event requiring a colorful painting of the guest of honor's name? Or any other message you would like to convey in a bold manner? This name sign was painted with acrylics in a freehand style without the use of a preliminary sketch or line drawing.

A grandmother asked to have a sign painted to hang on the gate of the corner of her yard that she fenced off for her granddaughter. The sign is the first phase of a two phase project. The second phase will be to paint a mural using some of the images from the sign onto one of the wood perimeter fences.

A grandmother asked to have a sign painted to hang on the gate of the corner of her yard that she fenced off for her granddaughter. The sign is the first phase of a two phase project. The second phase will be to paint a mural using some of the images from the sign onto one of the wood perimeter fences.

Logo and Booth Design

Griller extraordinaire with award-winning chicken recipe, placing first three times at the Martinez King of the County BBQ Challenge, needed a logo for his competition booth. The rampant lion with the title of the barbeque team was painted using acrylics onto a stretched 20" x 24" canvas. That design was hand-painted onto three T-shirts and three aprons for each of the BBQ team members. Next, the logo was deconstructed into two separate components. The title of the team was hand-painted onto two 12"H x 10'L canvas banners and the rampant lion was hand-painted onto four canvas panels that were attached to the ends of the banners.

Smokin' LION BBQ Original Canvas and Chef holding 1st Place Award

Smokin' LION BBQ Original Canvas and Chef holding 1st Place Award

Smokin’ LION BBQ in action at the Martinez King of the County BBQ Challenge. Placed FIRST for Best Booth Design in 2011 competition.

Smokin’ LION BBQ in action at the Martinez King of the County BBQ Challenge. Placed FIRST for Best Booth Design in 2011 competition.

Reflected Palm

Reflected Palm

Waterfall

Waterfall

Secluded Seating

Secluded Seating

Close-up Pant Cluster

Close-up Pant Cluster

Road through the Hills

Road through the Hills

Hiking Trail

Hiking Trail

Lone Tree

Lone Tree

Wilderness Lake

Wilderness Lake

Path through Dry Garden

Path through Dry Garden

Houses on Steep Slope

Houses on Steep Slope

Restaurant

Restaurant

Courtyard

Courtyard