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Plant Communities

Planting by Community
Plant communities are determined by a combination of climate (including local microclimates), soils, slope, and subtle biotic factors. Often, two three or even four different communities can occur next to one another because of differences in slopes, soils, and availability of water. A common example is where canyon bottom meets adjacent slopes. The canyon may have a permanent stream supporting riparian woodland, while north-facing slopes are covered with oak woodland, south-facing slopes with chaparral, and serpentine outcrops sustain a modified conifer woodland, grassland, or stunted chaparral.

Unique plant communities have evolved over thousands of years, adapting to the changing climate and local soil conditions. Preserving the integrity of the local biotic community can give endless rewards to us and to the wildlife we may have displaced.

The following ten plant communities have been selected because they cover the most examples that we have utilized in our garden design and build projects. These include representative plant communities from the coast, foothills, valleys, and middle elevations throughout the state.

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