Hello! This is where we will share photos of some of our landscape design projects located throughout California.

Deeter Buckner Design LLC and The Plant Man are based in San Diego, CA. We can be reached by phone (text or v.m.) at: Michael Cell: 619-980-5483, or Jenise Cell: 858-353-6369 (text or v.mail).

Michael Buckner, born and raised in San Diego, has been both a nurseryman, and a landscape designer in Southern California for over 40 years. Working as 'The Plant Man', and dba 'Deeter Buckner Design LLC', his design work has been featured in San Diego Home & Garden, Pacific Horticulture, books by Debra Lee Baldwin, and multiple other magazines.

Michael's also a nationally 'Certified Judge' for the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, a horticulturalist, a grower of rare & exotic plant material, a sought after speaker, an avid student of natural history, and a bibliophile.

Jenise Deeter-Buckner holds degrees in both Landscape Architecture and Fine Art (A.S. Landscape Architecture & MFA, Masters of Fine Art). She taught drawing/mixed-media and black & white photography courses at SDSU for three years, while earning her masters degree. She has over 10 years of nursery experience and has been working with Michael for over 5 years.

As a design team, they collaborate on all phases of the creative processes, which eventually translate into the formal blueprint of the design, or Concept Plan, drawn by Jenise.

A 'constant' in our design process is to be 'Nature' sensitive - to find ways to bring 'Nature' into the design. And in doing so, embrace those qualities inherent to Southern California, its native rocks, its changing elevations, its micro climates - the unique climates of its canyons, beaches, & interior desert environments - while making creative use in the landscape design, of the varieties of native plant material and unique cacti and succulents that thrive here.

Our team's design work promotes unique, expressive, drought tolerant, sustainable landscapes which enhance our client’s outdoor living spaces and reflect the client's personal narrative...their visions, dreams, and expectations throughout the processes - from the beginning consultation on site with the client, to the space’s final installation.

Sunday, November 6

Cactus & Succulent Gardens at Their Best!


Here's a collection of terrific cactus and succulent gardens I shot one fabulous day last month with the Plant Man. The gardens were created and installed by the Plant Man.  These are excellent examples of the type of beauty, color and structural elements you can have in your water-wise, sustainable landscapes.  The above image of a garden that sits on the bay in Pt. Loma is meant to reflect the concept of a 'oceanic coral reef above ground'.

I love, love the way this pine tree was pruned to open up the branches.


The use of colorful beach pebble, gravels, and colorful succulents to create this kind of movement can be re-created for your rock garden.  Gorgeous!


Color and texture are carefully considered when creating a successful rock garden.





Mixing bromeliads with other colorful cactus/succulents and boulders - it's simply a burst of colorful textures in the end & easily maintained all year long.



Is this view just too beautiful for words?  This garden is planted right on the bay, the concept for the garden is 'a coral reef of succulents'.









I love the use of colorful, flat beach stones to create 'lines of color' which meander through the landscapes.




Saturday, November 5

Images of the location for rural park - Nature Preserve Center - Santa Ysabel

Images of Nature Reserve, Santa Ysabel.
So much beauty, and preserved as a nature reserve, it was wonderful just knowing this land is safe from development.
The amount of birds singing that day was reason enough
to want to hike this land...and the views across the valley
were indescribably breathtaking.
My next project - design the Nature Preserve Center.

Bedrock used by Native Americans to soak and grind the native Oak acorns into a 'flour'.

Our shadows over the flat grinding stone.

The Reserve includes both low open grasslands and higher
elevations of live oaks and large boulders.
Encountering a Mt. Lion in the higher elevations,
sent us all hiking to the lower grasslands in a big hurry.

Concept Drawings & Section Drawing Details


Detail - Front Entry & Covered Patio (w/elliptical shaped translucent shade covering).

Details of the design includes:  An area set aside for the Farmers Market (orange canopies), intimate seating/benches under trees, a view of paved courtyard inlaid w/elliptical grass areas wide enough to lay down on.

Detail - Section view of Water Feature, Benches, Seat Walls, Trees (3 levels shown), etc.

Monday, June 20

Let the transformation begin! Check out these Before & After Images of a front yard in east county where nothing much wanted to grow. Until.....

Wondering about removing your grass, and what the change would be like?  
Here are some selected 'before' and 'after' images of a yard that was originally flat, rectangular, and had very poor drainage.  


'Before' nothing grew in the front yard.
                 Difficult to recognize the 'before' photo of the flat front yard in this image.
           An 'after' photo: first season for the planting....this garden will fill out beautifully.   Small plants take up to 3 years to really show off, so remember that when choosing sizes.
  • MOUNDED CUSTOM-MIXED SOIL, HONEY QUARTZ ROCKS, HAND SELECTED DESERT BOULDERS LAID DOWN WITH DECORATIVE TOP DRESSING GRAVEL MULCH, PATHS CRISS-CROSSING THROUGH THE MOUNDS...AND IT'S ALREADY SO BEAUTIFUL...WORK IN PROGRESS..
  • 'Before' - Not much wanted to grow there, but all that was resolved with the installation of the right soil, boulders and gravel mulch.  
  • 'After' - Right now the owners are having a great time 'treasure hunting' for plants to include in their new garden design!



Letting the crane do some of the heavy work for us.....KRC's crane, installing beautiful gray boulder on top of ridge.


Boulders are essential elements in the 'water-wise' garden.  And don't skimp on size, because it does make a huge difference when considering scale, and aesthetic appeal.




The crane operator can move the boulders wherever you want them.





The crane operator is not only an artist he's a really nice guy to work with...cool.


EVEN NOW...LOOKING GREAT AT THIS EARLY STAGE OF PLANTING!
  • Remember the 'flat front yard'? Where nothing much would grow?
  • That is all history now. 
The transformation of the once flat and mostly 'barren' front yard is a successful 'work in progress'.

Sunday, June 19

NO EXISTING IRRIGATION FOR THIS SUCCULENT GARDEN!!

This unique succulent garden is located in the eastern part of the county, in a location that can experience some extreme temps - hot in the summer and light frost in the winter.  This garden has NO existing irrigation!


No irrigation required for this uniquely beautiful, sustainable cactus and succulent landscape design in east county. 
WORK IN PROGRESS.  MORE PLANTING TO COME.  AN EXTREME WATER-WISE GARDEN - WITH NO EXISTING IRRIGATION!!


  1. The plants are becoming established and the full sun is bringing out the reds and oranges in their leaves.  
  2. The plants receive little water from the owners, which adds to the colors that you see here...living sculptures!  
  3. Note:  low growing plant material that I describe as 'framing plants' can be added, a choice that would 'fill in' the open space between the plants, and give definition to the overall composition.
  4. I believe as more people become familiar with this type of design, they will choose it in place of their turf grass, and save as much as 75% on their water  bills.
  5. It requires 50- 75% less water, less pruning - tons less maintenance and it's a beautiful, sustainable choice to make.  
This stunning  Kalancho 'Flapjack' speaks for itself!
These plants were just waiting for us to 'plant them' together? bold...richly colored, unique, amazing & complimentary.
Inspiring, sustainable, original design - the contemporary, water-wise 'thirsty garden'.  

Friday, June 17

Detail from one of my hand drawn, black and white graphic plans.



  • The largest sculpted circles represent the canopy of trees...
  • The lower left-hand circle w/an oculus, represents a covered patio with an opening to the sky.  
  • Other items represented are: pergola, fountain, reflecting pools, paths, a pond, inlaid stone mosaic and much more...