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Landscaping in the Sierra Nevada

Landscaping and gardening have a meditative quality but it can also be frustrating and challenging - especially here in Truckee and Tahoe.

Image via Martis Camp

There’s nothing like sitting in your garden or well-manicured yard with a book or magazine, drink in hand, watching the birds flitter about or the kids play. It’s the reward for hard work and dirty hands. Landscaping and gardening have a meditative quality but it can also be frustrating and challenging - especially here in Truckee and Tahoe.

From hungry deer to underground Voles to unpredictable weather patterns and dry conditions, there are many elements at play that will keep even the best landscaper on their toes. But don’t let this hinder you from creating a beautiful home garden. From rock gardens to vegetable gardens, with a little work, and a whole lot of love, you can make it happen. Here are some tips for success.


The planning phase is fun - walk around your neighborhood and see what landscaping is working for other homes. But don’t ignore the open spaces either! You’ll notice that there are plenty of plants and wild flowers that thrive, without any help from humans. Take pictures of the plants and foliage that catch your eye and keep notes as to what seems to be working well out in the wild. Not sure what that plant was that you saw on your last hike? Go to the local nursery and show them your pictures. They are experts in the local fauna and will be able to point you in the right direction in getting those plants in your lawn.


Probably the most integral part of a successful landscaping project is soil. Good soil absorbs, cleans, and stores water efficiently for the roots that live in it. Good soil also provides nutrients for plants, as it is a living ecosystem. Without healthy soil, plants won’t get the food and water they need to survive. The key to healthy soil is organic matter (live, dead, and decomposed) and good drainage.


Maybe the idea of tending a garden seems overwhelming, or you know you just don’t have the time you need to put into it. Think about creating a rock garden! The most work happens in the beginning when you are laying it out. Some really great features that can be incorporated in rock gardens are bridges, paths, ponds, waterfalls and more. They are durable and don’t require a ton of maintenance. You might want to incorporate some plants within the landscape. Choose drought resistant varieties to keep the maintenance low. You can find a ton of rock garden inspiration here.


There’s really nothing like making a salad or healthy dinner using the plants and vegetables from your own garden. Somehow, it just seems to taste better. In the high Sierra you will be competing with the woodland animals that also want to reap the benefits of your hard work! Putting vegetables in pots or in raised beds makes it a whole lot easier. Soil can be regulated better and cages can be put up around the plants to keep out pesky foragers. If you want to begin planting early in the season, potted plants can easily be brought inside for the night and placed back out in the sun in the morning.

We are obsessed with outdoor landscaping at Tinsel. While we aren’t professional landscapers, it is a personal hobby and we would love to come out and give you our tips and tricks! Get in touch with us for your next home project!



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