Savvy solutions to landscape challenges – Orange County Register

Claudia Schmutzler loves “challenged” landscapes. In fact, she’s come to embrace them.

“Bring it and let’s see what we can do,” said the Corona del Mar landscape designer and owner of Windsor Decks and Gardens, who calls herself the “garden fixer.”

Not all of her projects start with her scratching her head, but some have, and most of the challenges have involved physical impediments.

One of her more recent endeavors involved coming up with an answer on what to do with a hard-to-reach planter. And not just any planter, mind you.

The structure, a major focal point for an expansive property in the Emerald Bay community of Laguna Beach, extended precariously off the balcony. The only way to reach it was by navigating a narrow catwalk.

Further adding to the problem was the constant sun exposure, which made the surface extremely hot. Water from a drip system simply went through it, and nothing seemed to thrive.

“I thought, what could I do with it?” Schmutzler said. “Make it a lawn fire pit? No. In the distance is the beautiful Pacific Ocean, so I came up with the dune idea. After a lot of thought, the solution hit me like a ton of bricks at 3 a.m.” She took very white sand and some Japanese glass balls and, voila, made it a “floating sand dune,’’ as she dubbed…

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