Home Start’s Thrift Boutique: Unexpected Inspiration

In a recent San Diego Union Tribune article, journalist and local garden expert Nan Sterman included the storefront landscape of Home Start’s Thrift Boutique in a list of spots one wouldn’t necessarily call a garden but provide inspiration for home gardens. Home Start was fortunate to have Alexis Parker of Home Aid of San Diego and her partners ValleyCrest (now known as BrightView) take on the renovation and provide the garden’s design, plants, and installation.

ValleyCrest’s landscape architects Alan Gonzalez and Ken Parker designed this lovely little landscape to be drought tolerant, low maintenance, and economical to manage.

The layout is straightforward and elegant. A pair of palo verde trees anchor the front corners. The understory is several varieties of succulent Agave with blue, green or variegated succulent blades. The gardens include succulent blue chalksticks, red yucca (Hesperaloe), bright orange flowering Aloe, and chocolate brown New Zealand flax (Phormium) as well.

Poured concrete pathways from sidewalk connect to the boutique’s welcoming front porch with a ramp to one side and stairs on the other. Between the two, repurposed fencing clads porch columns and encloses the porch in a low wall. The rustic wood, plus strategically placed boulders and cobble create the inviting feeling. Plants are all irrigated with drip irrigation.

Home Start is proud of the Thrift Boutique — inside and out! In addition to the beautiful landscape, this social enterprise provides revenue to support our life-changing programs. The store also provides a supportive setting for young mothers in our Maternity Shelter program to develop job skills and gain work experience as they move toward greater independence. Home Start provides a hand up, not just a handout.

We invite you to visit the Boutique at 3611 Adams Avenue in the Normal Heights neighborhood in San Diego, the Thrift Boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm. Generous donors help us keep the Boutique stocked with unique gifts, quality clothing, and fine furnishings.

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