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Tropical Retreat

The Hawaiian spirit blossoms in a Del Mar landscape.


Seeds of Friendship

Howard Appel didn’t know he was a budding horticulturalist when he bought his Del Mar house. But after six months, he and Dave Ericson (pictured) of Secret Gardens Landscape have transformed the outdoor area into an oasis, filled with rare plants and exotic sculptures. As an added bonus, it’s fairly low-maintenance and sustainable, even through the winter. Dave and his wife, Sue, have sharpened their shears on plenty of high-profile gigs, including the Del Mar Racetrack and a Saudi prince’s Rancho Santa Fe estate. And yet, Howard’s undersized backyard venture ranks as a favorite because it was driven by the homeowner’s passion. "We planted a garden and grew a friendship."

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