Steve Jacobs featured in Rancho Santa Fe Review: A Letter to All Rancho Santa Fe Residents

As a landscape professional for the past 32 years, I have seen everything from huge, rapid growth to deep recession. In the 80’s, mass amounts of money were spent on poor quality construction using large visual impacts such as grottos, water falls, large swimming pools, Koi ponds, and formal rose gardens. Then, in the early 2000’s, homeowners experienced inflated property values and many chose to refinance and use their equity to invest in landscape projects. Again, low quality, big impact. Now with the current water restrictions and a four year drought, along with the repairs and upgrades to the poor construction and design quality that was previously developed, it’s evident that smarter choices are necessary to improve property values and to look forward to sustainable solutions.


Steve Jacobs featured in Rancho Santa Fe: Five Tips to Comply with the Newest Water Reductions for Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe residents have received the loud and clear message that water usage must be reduced by 35% immediately.  Since landscaping accounts for the majority of residential water use, it makes sense to look closely at alternatives. Redesigning areas of our yards with conservation choices and shifting our mindset from that desired emerald green lawn.



Kelly Dixon on how to be Water Wise

What timing to post this video – in case you missed it, just one week before California Governor Jerry Brown’s mandatory water conservation level 2 sanctions were imposed, Rancho Santa Fe, CA resident and our landscape designer Kelly Fore Dixon gave an amazing informational talk at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club Get Smart Lecture Series on just that subject. She spoke about how the water tolerant and drought resistant plants are beautiful, and shared alternatives to Fescue lawns. She also gave valuable tips and actionable advice to quickly improve your irrigation system, planting beds, and swimming pools to reduce water consumption.

Nature Designs has highly trained trained and certificate water managers and irrigation technicians ready to discuss any needed improvements in your home landscape - just give us a call to make an appointment today! 

Read more!

Steve Jacobs featured in Rancho Santa Fe Review: What Rancho Santa Fe Residents Need to Know About the Current Water Restrictions

Rancho Santa Fe Residents are now required by the Santa Fe Irrigation District to conserve water. We are currently at a Level 2 stage of water restrictions which means most of the focus is on saving irrigation water. In order to comply with these restrictions, here’s what you need to know:



50 Business Tips for Landscape Designers

Come and learn from award-winning, California-based, Landscape Architect and Licensed General Building & Landscape Contractor, Kelly Fore Dixon, ASLA, as she shares practical steps for developing your professional practices. Kelly will delve into the nitty-gritty of working with clients and contractors, explain processes to streamline operational and creative tasks, and show us how to earn the compensation that we deserve. She will also provide an opportunity for questions and answers following her presentation. Read more here!

Steve Jacobs featured in Rancho Santa Fe Review, "Why We Should Care About the New York Times Article

On November 29th, 2014, the New York Times published an article entitled “Where the Grass is Always Greener, a Push to Share Drought’s Burden”. In the article, Ian Lovett quotes the California state water officials as saying that Rancho Santa Fe residents “used an average of 584 gallons a day… nearly five times the average for coastal Southern California.” Even though water restrictions are in place, homeowners have reduced their water consumption by “only 1.5 percent from September 2013, compared with 10.3 percent statewide.” Meanwhile, in the low income areas of the San Joaquin Valley residents cope with “dry taps and toilets they cannot flush.”


READY, SET, GO 2015: A Workshop to Better Your Business!

Nature Designs' owner Steve Jacobs will be a part of the speaker's line-up for the San Diego District APLD Better Business Workshop.
  • When: Saturday, January 24th 8 am - 4 pm (Check in starts at 7:45 am)
  • Where: Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024.  
  • Cost: APLD members and sponsors are $65, non-members are $95. This fee includes a continental breakfast and lunch.
  • Pre-registration is required through Eventbrite
Steve Jacobs will speak on 'Dealing with Difficult Clients'. 
Other speakers include: 

Dr. Karen North PhD, using social media to showcase your expertise and design talents

Lori Palmquist, how to use WaterWonk's new design tools to comply with WUCOLS requirements

Carlos Michelon, available landscape rebate programs and water regulations for 2015

David Olsen, discuss landscape specific insurance 

Lisa Bellora, updates from APLD National on the California legislative strategy for 2015



Steve Jacobs featured in Rancho Santa Fe Review, "Ten Smart Ways to Reduce Your Water Usage"

Even though in Rancho Santa Fe we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some much-needed rain, we are still in a serious drought. This means water conservation is still a high priority, and water restrictions continue to be in full force. Not only do plants need less water now that we are experiencing cooler temperatures, there are also items you can implement now that will conserve water and ensure that your landscape is being watered at maximum efficiency.


A Satisfied Encinitas Client

Steve Jacobs Talks Lighting

Steve Jacobs Talks Irrigation

Steve Jacobs featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review, "Rancho Santa Fe Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives"

In California we are lucky to live in a mild climate that allows us to grow amazing landscapes. Because of this mild climate, plants from other parts of the world often thrive; and some grow so well that they become invasive. These plants 'jump fences' and 'throw seeds.' Their root and stem fragments spread into our natural areas threatening our biodiversity and ecology. They grow quickly and crowd our native vegetation, blocking streams which can cause flooding, and their biomass can become a serious fire hazard.



Nature Designs Gets Involved With Building Homes for Heroes

Building Homes for Heroes (BHFH) provides housing for military veterans who have been injured while serving the country during the time of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The organization builds or modifies homes, and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families. A collaborative effort between Nature Designs, Beach City Builders and area and national material suppliers has been formed to improve housing in the San Diego County area. Each house is remodeled to meet the individual needs of the veteran and their family. Architectural and interior and landscape improvements are provided, along with handicapped accessible features, so that each home provides a safe and functional place to recover and live a normal life.

This most recent project is located in San Marcos. Click here for a link to some before shots of the home.

Nature Designs will provide design and landscape construction services to:

  • Improve the look of the front yard with a low garden wall, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and seasonal plantings. Grassy areas will be provided as play areas for the veterans two young children to play and enjoy the outdoors.
  • The back yard barbecue will be rebuilt. Bob and Debbie Gustafson, current NDL clients, will provide a stainless gas grill for the project.
  • The fire pit and patio areas will be improved with flagstone donated by KRC Rock.

It's our honor to support the men and women who have loyally and courageously served our country.

Nature Designs Wins Again in 2014!

California Landscape Contractors Association has awarded Nature Designs the following awards for 2014:

Over 75 entries were received this year. Judges were area landscape architects and industry professionals.

Nature Designs wishes to recognize our maintenance team:

Nature Designs adds these awards to their collection of more than 50 previous design, construction and maintenance awards from their 31 years in business. 

Steve Jacobs featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: "Why Hire a Licensed Landscape Professional?"

The old saying -- "if something seems to good to be true, it probably is" -- is quite fitting when it comes to hiring a contractor for your home or yard construction project. While it is smart to shop around, get quotes, etc., don't fall into the trap of hiring an unlicensed contractor promising a great price. More times than not, the "cheapest" contractor will actually end up costing you the most in the long run. Here are some important things to consider when looking for a contractor.

Read more here...


Steve Jacobs featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: How to Create a Fire Safe Landscape

Due to hot weather, strong winds and the drought, San Diego, recently experienced a series of devastating fires. With no end to the drought in sight and now that summer has arrived, it’s up to us to do everything we can to protect San Diego and our homes from fires in the upcoming months. One way is to make our landscaping fire safe. Here are some valuable tips to help you protect your home against fire - read the rest of the article here.

Steve Jacobs featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: Sustainable Swimming Pools for Summer

San Diego experienced quite a heat wave in the month of May. Many of you probably found some relief by diving into your swimming pools. Living in San Diego, we don’t have to wait for a heat wave—or even summer— to enjoy our pools. Our world famous weather allows us to dive in all year long. With advancements in pool sustainability, we can enjoy our pools while reducing the impact on the environment, our pocket books, and our bathing suits.

Click here to read the rest of Steve's column at the Rancho Santa Fe Review.

What to Expect in Your Yard


Once again we are getting a bad heat wave this week. Please be understanding if you see our guys doing most of their work in your shade areas or if you see them taking some breaks, as they have been instructed to do so. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is a serious medical condition and we want to keep our crews safe and healthy.

Lawn: This month we have been putting down a second application of a balanced fertilizer. Next month ( June) we will be putting down a second application of pre-emergent to keep down that pesky crabgrass.
Ornamental Pear and Plum Trees, Roses and Bougainvillea: In June, we will be applying another application of a systemic for the Sawfly larvae as this is a typical problem on these plants in midsummer to Fall. We are being proactive. WE DO NOT do this for edibles or plants that are close to edibles.

Citrus and Avocado: We will be setting your avocado tree irrigation to deep but infrequent watering schedules ( if possible) and we will be leaving the leaves underneath to help their immune system.
Citrus will continue to be fed chelated iron  and zinc as needed. Organic Clients: We are using Organic Fertilizers and organic oil sprays on your citrus Mulch Refresh: Unfortunately we are still behind on mulch orders as the demand is greater than the production this Spring.
Why Mulch? Improves your soil by decomposing (Which is why we need to add more periodically), Keeps roots cool in summer, Keeps water evaporation down, Keeps weeds down. WE LOVE MULCH 

Also LIGHT trimming will be done on Camellias and Azaleas if necessary.
In JUNE we will begin trimming by half, all Lavenders EXCEPT the dentata variety.
Veggie Gardens: May/ June planting- Melons, eggplant, cucumber, corn, squash, sweet potato, tomato, asparagus.

Trimming, thinning and dividing:  If you have the following plants in your yard, you will see them being cut back fairly hard.

Top 5 Tips for Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

In San Diego we are blessed with beautiful weather year-round. Since summer is right around the corner, most of us will be spending more time outdoors entertaining friends, enjoying the sunset, and dining al fresco under the stars. Because outdoor entertaining is such a large part of the southern California culture, it’s only natural that an outdoor kitchen is one of the most requested amenities in residential landscape construction. An outdoor kitchen greatly enhances the outdoor entertaining experience, adds value to the home, and allows the cook to enjoy more time with friends during a party. Even when you’re not entertaining, outdoor kitchens and patios can act as an outdoor room, expanding the existing living space, without the walls.

Read More.

Steve Jacobs Featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: Tune-Up Your Irrigation System in Time for Summer

We all know the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” However, because we are experiencing a drought, April showers aren’t likely this year. Therefore, it’s our irrigation systems that will be yielding the May bloom and helping to maintain the overall health of our gardens and lawns. Did you know that for every 1,000 square feet of Fescue lawn you have, it takes approximately 35,000 gallons of water a year to keep it healthy? And like most plants, it requires even more water in the summer months. In other words, you’ll be depending even more on your irrigation system this summer. In order to conserve water, Nature Designs recommends an irrigation tune-up. The following are steps you should take to make sure your irrigation system is working as efficiently as possible.

Read more.

Kelly Dixon will be lecturing at the APLD on March 24th

Our Project Manager Kelly Dixon will be lecturing at the March 24th Association of Professional Landscape Designers San Diego District meeting at Village Nurseries. The lecture is entitled '50 Top Tips for Business Success.' Any design professional is welcome.

Click here to read more about it.

The San Diego Water Authority Provides and eGuide to a Water Smart Lifestyle

The "eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle" is your go-to resource for living water-efficiently in San Diego County.

This free, 140-page digital flipbook reflects San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate, along with its active, high-tech lifestyle. It is loaded with interactive features that allow users to share ideas on Facebook, electronically “pin” plant and garden photos...

Click here to visit their website

Robert Wrightson has been promoted!

Robert Wrightson was recently promoted from Crew Leader to Field Manager here at Nature Designs. Robert will work hand-in-hand with our Maintenance Leader, Terri Maguire, to maintain the highest standards for maintenance and customer satisfaction.

Kara Ryska has been promoted!

Congratulations to Kara Ryska! She has been promoted to Sales Leader here at Nature Designs. Kara stepped into this leadership role on March 1st and is in charge of sales training, team building, and keeping the highest level of client satisfaction in the industry.

Steve at the UC Cooperative Extension

Steve Jacobs was invited to join the list of instructors that have been selected to teach the University of California Cooperative Extension, San Diego County Master Gardener Class of 2014.  Steve was a part of a team of UC researchers, industry professionals, and local experts that will in total provide the training class with more than 100 hours of instruction over the 19 week course.  A variety of topics will be addressed including Soils, Water Management, Plant Pathology, Integrated Pest Management, Tree Crop Management, and Vegetable Crop Management. After successfully completing the course, the newly graduated Master Gardeners will provide educational outreach to the citizens of San Diego County regarding non-commercial home horticulture and pest management.

Steve Jacobs Featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: Investing in Your Second Largest Asset – Landscaping

Aside from your home, your landscape is typically the second largest personal asset you own.  It’s an asset that can add tens of thousands of dollars of value to your home. Landscaping not only adds value immediately; it continues adding value for years to come because while other home renovations, such as kitchen and bathroom upgrades, eventually go out of style, plants and tree continue to grow and become more lush and valuable year after year.

Read More.

Steve Jacobs Featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: Winter Tips for Your Rancho Santa Fe Landscape

Although it can be hard to tell here in San Diego, with our blue skies and t-shirt weather, it is winter. Most of us associate winter with the holidays, family time, and curling up by the fire, not with spending time in our gardens. That’s what spring and summer are for, right? Well, not necessarily. There are definitely things to do in the garden this time of the year. One is to prepare your garden for the freezing temperatures that have been forecasted to occur in a few weeks’ time. Also, there are steps you can take in winter to maintain the overall health of your garden.

Read More.

Landscaping: A Good Investment

We tend to think of landscape construction and maintenance as an investment instead of an expense. Here's support from Bob Vila. He's got some great tips on trends, pitfalls and keeping it green. Read more...

Steve Jacobs Featured at the Rancho Santa Fe Review: How to Build a Sustainable Estate Landscape System

Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “Just living is not enough … one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” With our hectic schedules, most of our sunshine, freedom and flower appreciation takes place not in the great outdoors, but in the comfort of our own backyards. Because this commune with nature is so essential to our peace of mind, many of us have landscaped, or plan to landscape, our homes to create a beautiful outdoor experience. It’s important, however, to make sure our landscapes are not only beautiful but sustainable. Non-sustainable landscaping systems deplete the earth and waste precious resources.

Read more.