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Eduardo Xol on Gardening

Top designer from <i>Extreme Makeover: Home Edition</i> shares his tips on how to create the perfect garden

En español | Eduardo Xol tackles design challenges on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. But the former telenovela star began as a musician, just published a book on entertaining, and owns a design firm.

Growing up among Latin and Asian influences in East Los Angeles, he helped his father prune bonsai and maintain their yard, and he enjoyed visiting his grandmother’s vegetable and herb garden.

AARP VIVA caught up with Xol in Texas, where he was shooting for the TV show.

Q. 

What’s your approach to outdoor landscaping?

A.

I really like to get to know my clients in the projects I’m working on, really make sure that the landscaping is cohesive with what’s going on inside the house, and that it fits the lifestyle and personality of the people that I’m designing for.

Q. 

How do you bring balance to a landscape?

A.

My father’s a very talented person when it comes to plants. But when it comes to landscaping composition, he likes things very linear. And sometimes I argue with him that it becomes a little bit too harsh, a little bit too linear. You have to balance sometimes the lines with texture and different shapes so that you create harmony in your garden.

Q. 

What are inexpensive elements that people can add to create a theme in a garden?

A.

You have to take a couple of things into consideration. Are you creating a garden that you want to maintain because you love to garden and it’s a hobby you’ll be able to keep up, or are you wanting to create an environment that’s low maintenance that you just want to enjoy? Once that decision is made, I think that the next choice can be made as to how elaborate the garden is going to be: how much is going to be hardscape, how much is going to be landscape, perhaps adding in a water feature, which you can never go wrong with.

Q. 

Are there certain plants that bring a Mexican-themed garden to life?

A.

Yes, but it also depends on where you live. For example, here in El Paso it’s very, very arid. I think you have to really research where you are and what’s going to grow there, and what kind of maintenance it’s going to take.

Q. 

You’re not a big fan of cactus—why is that?

A.

With a cactus garden, it’s going to be very barren and dry, and that’s not my style. I prefer a little bit more lush, a little bit more moist. But my grandmother, she did have a little corner in her backyard that was a cactus garden, and then she used those cactus to cook. In that instance, I actually really like it. 

Q. 

Of the things that you do, do you think that landscaping will always be part of the picture?

A.

I think so, because I think it’s something that I’m going to be able to grow old with. I’ll want to be outside and working with plants. I want to be like my grandmother

You may also like: Design a garden that connects you to your ethnic heritage.>>

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