“Bridge Over the River Why?”

by ESP on May 2, 2015 · 7 comments


I love the city brush pick-up…it is like I am getting away with something. 

I think this is because I am used to paying for dumpsters when I am doing installations.


This is what large brush pick-up looks like in the Patch after I have attacked my loquat trees, vitex (yes I still have it) and bamboos. If I have to stoop to walk under it, it ends up here.


I do have lots of perimeter screening foliage that contributes to the street pile,


and there are always the high-maintenance pecan trees.


My two favorite hand-tools for taking care of such brush business:


It took half an hour to remove my brush pile.


Moving Along…

Just when I thought he couldn’t look any more ridiculous,


he goes and grows these!

I came so close to snapping them off and adding them to the brush pile but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

stupid cactus man

“stupid cactus man with his stupid large and small ears”.


Looming high above the cactus man is this burgundy sand cherry which really pops with color set against a dark back drop like the shade of my post oak.


Spring color that looks like fall.


This wall of jasmine is made up of two types,




The white is Confederate and the yellow is Star of Toscana.

Both are great for screening and for spring fragrance.

DSC09661 2

Remember the curvy flower stalk on this ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave?


Here it is now, standing proud at about the 6ft 4″ mark.


The rust colored flowers


not only look good,


they also rotate to the touch in all directions…amazing.


Bridge over the river why?


Well, to add structure of course.

This large back garden in south central Austin did not always look this big and airy.


A number of Large ligustrums were imposing and possessing the space making it feel dark and claustrophobic.


Ba-ba DOOK!…Brrr.


They were the first to be exorcised by the teeth of a chain saw.

Here is the design visualization I generated for the client:

one copy





Eliminating the understory ligustrums immediately opened up the space visually.


DSC09247A weaving dry-creek bed slows water-flow and breaks up two flagstone patios on either side of the bridge.



Cast iron plants, sabal minor, fatsia Japonica and bamboo muhly will soften up the shady scene as an understory planting.


Loquats and clumping bamboos will add perimeter height and interest when mature.


After finishing the rear of the property, naturally we consolidated the front.





Stay Tuned For:

“Oh my Gourd, that Gourd is Gourdeous”



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1 Rock Rose May 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Marvelous installation Philip. As to your brush pile. The city is very generous to do that. Alas in our neighborhood people pay the mow, blow and go guys get the job. No one would dream of dealing with it themselves. We have to find a place on our own lot to squirrel it away.

Thanks on the installation RR.
Yes it was quite a magnificent brush pile…I missed the last pick-up hence the sheer size of this one.

2 TexasDeb May 10, 2015 at 6:50 am

That time lapse video is great but I needed a little nap after. Phew! Your design is just what we’ve come to expect from you. Lovely, restrained, inviting people to come out into their spaces and enjoy the living to be done there. The filtered light post-tree removal and trimming is juussttt right.

And, I’m with Jenny. City workers hauling away your brush piles is a luxury not to be taken for granted. We too do all we can, but must pay to get anything hauled away that we can’t break down ourselves. The birds and other creatures love any brush piles and the occasional stump we leave – but it would certainly be nice to have curbside pickup as an option!

My client recorded all the time lapse videos…I just edited them all together.
It would be fun to record an entire installation like this and oohh, if we could only flip a switch and work at this pace in real life – it would make the tedious jobs like the filling of buckets with stones, and moving things here to there much more bearable :-)

Exorcising all those ligustrum demons made a huge difference to the light quality and to the mood of the garden in general, it really opened things up.

I love brush pick-up day!

3 Linda/patchwork May 10, 2015 at 8:32 am

Great design. And, you did it so FAST…lol

Haha…how do you think I got:

4 Desert Dweller / David C. June 1, 2015 at 7:53 am

I’m tired looking at your brush pile, but must be a relief. The video is great, and Benny Hill theme music should have been expected – I can almost see Benny hanging out under a grove of loquats and cypresses!

The need to clean up and open up…here it’s the need to clean up and enclose some. Geography and the type of growth you have there is so interesting to me.

Yes it could only have been Benny Hill…up to no good in the shrubbery :-)

5 katina June 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm

As always – the design and installation are top notch.

I never start brush clean up early enough and am inevitably in the middle of cutting back limbs when they come by.

Thank you Katina.
I missed it entirely the last go round…hence the sheer volume.

6 Lori June 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Love the design with the huge flagstones! Do you guys use a plate compactor on any of the DG expanses when you put it down?

Thanks Lori.
Yes these oversized flagstone pieces take three to four people to hustle into position…but the result is worth it. I see inappropriately sized flagstone used in landscapes everywhere I go, it disturbs me :-)
I have never used a plate compactor, I find feet and wheelbarrows usually do the trick.

7 Lori June 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

P.S. I hear you on the dumpster stuff. My current job required 2 dumpsters for over 40 tons of concrete and tile, which really cut down on driveway access. Good times.

…and those dumpsters are expensive!

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