Home & Garden

Victorian garden in SLO County has space for everything, from entertaining to pets

In Cayucos is a gorgeous red Victorian home renovated by Carly and Dale Kaiser.

The Kaisers restored the 1867 home, which used to be faded green and poorly remodeled, to as close as original as possible. Then they realized the outside landscaping needed some help.

In just 14 months, they have created a garden that could have been planted at the end of the 19th century. The Victorians were known for collecting tropical and unique plants to add to their gardens, and this garden echoes that practice.

Clumping bamboo is planted just behind a low, white slatted fence with an arched red-and-white gate entry that matches the house. Already several feet higher than the fence, the plant offers privacy while the gentle rustling of the bamboo leaves in the wind adds a calmness to the garden.

A brick pathway leads from the gate to the front porch, where there’s a beautiful oriental rug at the front door. To the left is a three-tiered fountain, and potted bamboo plants adorn each side of the front door.

More potted plants, an inviting rocking chair and a charming colorful turtle greets visitors.

A path leading to the north side yard features large cement and pea gravel slabs with river rock along the edges. In the planting beds along the path are magnificent succulents and calla lilies.

As the path curves around the side of the house, a small front yard of green grass adds softness to the landscape. A large palm tree grows in the corner with smaller palms, more calla lilies, succulents, and bamboo. Large rocks are scattered in the plantings.

An archway made from driftwood and adorned with a lovely green vine accents the gate leading to the middle yard. This area is used for relaxing with a tropical-themed chaise lounge surrounded by another patch of small, green luscious lawn.

There, a beautiful, large low-growing palm tree adds beauty and shade to the area. The planting bed surrounding the grass area is home to a variety of native grasses, succulents, unique palm trees, a hidden pond and a galvanized windmill.

Another gate leads you to the backyard, which is the entertaining area of the property.

Wisely, the Kaisers used artificial turf in this area, as it is an open area for their dogs.

A cement-and-rock fire pit is surrounded by comfy cushioned chairs and is located to the right of a picnic table, under a redwood-and-metal pergola. A wicker couch and chairs are to the left, along with more potted plants, cactus, and succulents.

This truly is an elegant garden that accents the age of the home but also offers comfortable spaces to enjoy.

The Kaisers credit Jim Randeen, Jeff Hurt, Eric McCart, Gardens by Gabriel and Jim Schimmer of Schimmer & Co Hardscapes with creating a stunning garden from little more than dirt and weeds.

You can see the Kaisers’ beautiful garden and four other wonderful backyard spaces on the Morro Bay AAUW Garden Tour. For more information, visit http://morrobayaauw.blogspot.com/p/annual-garden-tour.html.


  • Try to match your plants with the style of your home.
  • Use drought-tolerant and low-water plants whenever possible.
  • Don’t use plantings that will take away from or clash with house colors.
  • Think about using plants as tall fence lines rather than a wooden or metal fence.
  • Make defined spaces for entertaining, relaxing and pets.
Tami Reece lives in Paso Robles and has been gardening and preserving its bounty for 30 years. Email her if you know of a unique, beautiful garden, garden show or celebration at rosepetalranch96@gmail.com. Please allow a minimum of six weeks from the event.