Landscape designer Tom Stout—featured on HGTV's Outer Spaces and Get Out, Way Out!—helps home landscapes spring to life through sustainable and eco-friendly methods. Tom will offer ideas to spruce up outdoor spaces during a 90-minute landscaping consultation, in which he looks for ways to capture each client's lifestyle and personality while integrating their collection of spitting-cherub fountains. After touring the grounds, Tom will discuss how to put yard, garden, pergola, and water-feature plans into action using bioswales and water-retention devices, as well as climate appropriate and drought resistant plant material. Click here to sift through a gallery of Tom's past projects, ranging from outdoor grilling areas to well-manicured replicas of the Garden of Eden.
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The Los Angeles landscape has changed drastically since Sunset Ranch Hollywood first opened its stable doors in 1929. However, its equestrians still continue to lead riding tours through Griffith Park's 5,000 acres, where riders can view the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and downtown LA. The horseback outings also include rides to the top of Mount Hollywood, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding city. For visitors looking to improve upon their abilities, including actors who have been told they can't just gallop around on a stick horse, the ranch's staff offers private lessons in general horsemanship as well as Western and English riding styles.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
Nestled amidst the Arroyo Seco and San Gabriel mountains, San Pascual Stables enchants visitors with natural beauty and an enthusiastic crew of trainers continuing a 34-year tradition of equine education. During an expertly guided horsemanship class, trainees learn the basics under the wing of a trainer well versed in hunter and jumper riding. After a series of three lessons, clients are likely to feel more at home on horseback, and can swiftly opt into future lessons, in which they can learn how to further care for their creature and how to properly parallel park it in front of a crowded saloon.
A massive saguaro cactus towers over the entrance garden to California Cactus Center, shadowing a stone pathway surrounded by potted bromeliads with its sky-scraping height. The nursery deals exclusively in desert plants from around the world, stocking dozens of cacti species and other succulents and drought-happy botanical specimens. Inside the center, trays of tender succulents spread out over long tables as dangling strings of decorative rocks and glass sway gently above them. Dusted tones of lavender, sage, and scarlet-edged olive grace each leaf, and tillandsias—air plants that require no soil to live—sway gently within glass domes. Metal gates emblazoned with cacti lead to a section of clay and ceramic pottery, as well as decorations including brassy crescent moons and smiling suns. Outside, lily pads float in a peaceful pond as barrel cacti stretch their knobby heads from between agave plants, prickly pears, and prolific palm fronds. The nursery’s staff can guide patrons in any of their botanical pursuits, whether choosing the proper plants for their yard, maintaining their landscapes, or figuring out whether or not their saguaro actually likes wearing its sombrero.