Here are a few basic Bertisms. They're not always right, but they commonly are. If you learn them, your designs should be at least more functional, if not better. Hopefully they'll make you look smarter. Didn't help Bert, but it may help you.
Feel free to add more of your own, you can even call them after you. Johnisms or Judyisms.
1. The faster plants grow, the faster they die.
The simple solution is to interplant fast things like sages or
buckwheats, with a garden life of 10-30 years, with things like
manzanita that needs a few years to get going.
2. More flowers = more work and more money.
If you get a massive flower show the plant has to be dead headed (or
the seeds removed before they set seed) and
then looks like poo so you have to plant multiple items or remove it.
Planting a core of plants that look good when they're not in flower
helps a great deal with this. Manzanitas, Ceanothus, Cercocarpus, and
even Rhamnus can work as the core.
3. The lower the plant the higher the water and maintenance bill.
The costs difference for a 3 ft. high groundcover versus a 3 inch high
groundcover is almost 10 times. The high plants are very drought
tolerant and may not even need an irrigation system. Weed suppression is
much better on the higher groundcover. The lower ones do not suppress weeds very well and they need to be watered which makes it worse.
4. Perennials need to be planted in mass, and are a pain in
Restrict the areas with perennials. They cost the same as the
larger plants but you have to plant 10 times more of them and they need
constant care. It's easy to put $10,000 of them in a front yard.
5. More inputs (water, fertilizer, tilling, etc.) = more weeds, more
gophers, more disease.
Weeds love inputs, gophers love weeds. Many diseases are
caused by over-watering. Many disease-like symptoms of native plants we've traced to drip irrigation and fertilizer. Native plants do not know what
to do with extras; gophers do though (tastes like carrots).
A garden doesn't have to be confining.
6. No water= No Plants.
If you plant redwoods in Barstow in June and do not water them, they
will die. You want to water about 18 inches deep and let the top inch
dry out before doing it again. You can do that the first year. You
might get by watering until the first rain and then quitting. We've done no-water plantings before, but they have to be done in winter and are risky.
7. People walk in straight lines.
Do not make curvy walkways and paths unless you're planning a
sobriety check point.
A string line needs to be strung between the two points people are
going to be walking to and fro; as long as the path stays under the string
you'll be fine.