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Landscaping Options for Your Short-Term Rental in Los Angeles

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Crafting a Verdant Oasis: Balancing Aesthetics and Sustainability in LA Short-Term Rental Landscaping

By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

As a passionate plant aficionado, I’ve had the pleasure of developing numerous homes in Los Angeles, incorporating a variety of plant materials to transform spaces into green havens. In California, where the sun graces us abundantly, landscaping isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s an investment. An attractive exterior can significantly augment your property’s value.

Water Conscious Choices:

While California’s extreme drought is in the rearview mirror thanks to the recent wet seasons, it’s still prudent to choose landscaping options that conserve water. In the sun-baked landscapes of Los Angeles, the emerald green swaths of grass might seem tempting, but they gulp down gallons of water. To our homeowners, we recommend considering the Ruschia ‘Nana’ – Dwarf Carpet of Stars or various gravels as alternatives. Not only do they reduce water consumption, but they also lend a chic, modern look to the property.

Opting for Smaller Trees when Planting to Save Money:

A trick up our sleeve is purchasing trees in 1, 5, or 10-gallon pots. Instead of splurging on larger plants, why not nurture smaller ones and let them flourish on your property?  They tend to grow stronger and better this way, and you can also research if there is a way to make them grow faster, like for Podocarpus.  After a couple of years, you can capture their growth in photos, showcasing the evolution of your garden to potential renters.

The Allure of Fresh Fruits:

There’s an undeniable charm to plucking fresh fruit from a tree. From oranges to lemons, limes, and myriad other citrus varieties, planting a citrus orchard is a delight for the senses. Case in point: A property in Venice, home to seven different citrus types, where guests are greeted with zesty fragrances throughout the year. 

While avocados are universally adored, it’s best to exercise caution. Their insatiable thirst for water, slow growth rate, and sprawling roots can be tricky to manage.

Privacy First:

Every rental needs a touch of privacy. For this, Podocarpus is a favorite due to its water-sipping nature. Bamboo, particularly the clumping variety, is another top pick. It offers privacy without the risk of turning your yard into a bamboo forest. Some people also love Ficus, and they provide great privacy when grown, but do require more maintenance than Podocarpus or Bamboo. 

Signature Plant Recommendations:

In landscaping, first impressions matter. Investing in one or two signature plants can elevate your property’s aesthetic appeal. We’re particularly fond of the Dragon Plant for its artsy flair. The Palo Verde, with its verdant bark contrasted by yellow blooms, is another showstopper. And while Olive trees exude timeless elegance, their slow growth rate and hefty price tags for mature trees might be deterrents 

Another beautiful tree, possibly my favorite in the world, is the Bismarkia.  They grow slowly and are expensive, but their silver-green sheen and huge palm fronds make for one of the most beautiful trees imaginable. 

Succulents, Step Aside:

Succulents, we believe, were a fad in Los Angeles, yet they tend to not create a luxurious feeling at your home.  Granted, we love a great cactus and use them often as signature trees in prime spots, but doing an entire landscaping plan of succulents often feels sterile and uninviting.  

We recommend going tropical instead.  People are on vacation after all, and nothing screams relaxing like Palm Trees, palm fronds, and a variety of other great options you can find at reasonable prices at Home Depot.  They also tend to grow faster than other trees, and their tall height in smaller pots makes your outdoor area feel complete very quickly. 

Once You’ve Planted, Hire a Professional Gardener:

Landscaping is as much about maintenance as it is about design. We recommend hiring a proficient gardener, especially one attuned to the needs of a rental property. They’ll ensure your outdoor space looks pristine year-round and will manage tasks like trash disposal, which can be burdensome for guests.

In essence, landscaping for a short-term rental in Los Angeles is about balancing beauty with sustainability, providing guests a taste of California’s diverse flora while ensuring long-term viability and ease of maintenance.

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