Eco-Friendly Garden Tour – Bel Marin Keys Beauty

Eco-Tour Picture 1
Eco-Tour Picture 2Eco-Tour Picture 3Eco-Tour Picture 4

This innovative and stylized design replaced a front yard lawn and created a new entry pathway. It features drought tolerant plants from the American Southwest, Australia and South Africa. This garden is located in Bel Marin Keys, a waterfront community with five man-made navigable lagoons. Palm trees fit in nicely with the “keys” setting and form a light canopy throughout the yard. The idea behind the garden design is to transition from a dry landscape at the street, represented by black pebbles and barrel cacti; to a semi-arid landscape, represented by Dasylirion and Yucca plants with an under-story of alternative lawn; to a more tropical landscape represented by the vividly colored and exotic Banksia, Grevillea, Protea and Leucospermum shrubs, loved by the hummingbirds. A water feature ties the front yard landscape to the water views of the neighborhood, and provides a welcoming sound.

Plant List


  1. Beaucarnea recurvata (Pony Tail Palm)
  2. Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm)
  3. Syagrus romanzoffiana (Queen Palm)


  1. Agave attenuata (Fox Tail Agave), A. ‘Blue Flame’, A. ‘Blue Glow’, A. stricta (Hedgehog Agave)
  2. Aloe ‘Blue Elf’, A. saponaria (Soap Aloe), A. striata (Coral Aloe), A. vera
  3. Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ (Blue Rose Echeveria)
  4. Echinocactus grusonii (Barrel Cactus)
  5. Echinocerus reichenbachii (Pink Flowered cactus)
  6. Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca)


  1. Anigozanthos cvs. (Kangaroo Paw)
  2. Banksia spinulosa ‘Schnapper Point’ (Hairpin Banksia)
  3. Dasylirion longissimum (Mexican Grass Tree)
  4. Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ (Robyn Gordon Spider Flower)
  5. Leucospermum cordifolium ‘Yellow Bird’ (Yellow Nodding Pincushion), L. cordifolium ‘Flame Giant’ (Orange Nodding Pincushion)
  6. Protea ‘Sylvia’

Proteaceae Plant Family

protea_cynaroidesThe Proteaceae family of plants, native to Australia and South Africa, has been here for 300 million years. Banksia, Leucodendron, Leucospermum, and Protea are the family members with the showy, colorful prehistoric-looking flowers. The flowers range from small, green pine cone shapes to shockingly colorful, fuzzy blooms up to a foot across. Most plants bloom for several months and some bloom year round. The flowers are outstanding in fresh or dried bouquets. Low water use Proteas can be grown in California’s “Mediterranean-type” climate in full sun locations with good air movement around the plants and excellent drainage. Proteas rarely succeed in heavy clay soils, notorious for their poor drainage. Planting on slopes or on slightly elevated mounds is beneficial, decreasing drainage problems. Protea plants are generally hardy but should be protected from frost.