Gardening Tips Summer Survival Guide by Camp & Camp

Summer heat takes its toll on everyone, and our outdoor spaces are no exception. Keeping your plants happy and healthy throughout the hottest season is vital to both their growth and longevity.

The experts at Camp & Camp compiled a Summer Survival Guide with tips to grow a gorgeous summer garden and care for it throughout the season. 



Choose decent-sized specimens and don’t be tempted to overcrowd the space. Use plants that thrive in summer as this will save you work and help conserve water. Herbs are fabulous plants, with garden and kitchen uses galore, and are particularly useful in a dry season. Rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme, winter savory and chives are good choices in the garden, and they will do well in a sunny spot even in a drought. 



Helping your plants thrive is often a case of proper planning, placement and soil fertility.  A strong plant can better withstand the stress of high heat and dry weather.  So fertilize the soil well before planting using organic compost and other sustainable fertilizers.  


A sudden loss of buds and flowers is often a consequence of the plants drying out in the Summer, particularly when they are growing in containers. Mulch and water deeply once or twice weekly during hot, dry weather to limit this common and irritating problem.



Potted plants, especially those in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and, where possible, position them out of hot western sunshine. Remember that standing potted plants in saucers of water encourages root rot and mosquito breeding. Instead, stand them in saucers filled with sand, and keep the sand moist. This ensures roots stay cool and plants remain healthy.


Whether growing annuals, herbs, newly planted perennials, or trees, they need a good dose of water: at least one inch per week. Water in the morning when it’s cool – not only for plants, but for yourself. If you water in the afternoon, allow enough time for foliage to dry out before sunset.


You’ve weeded all summer, so don’t stop now. If weeds are left and go to seed, you’ll have ten times more problems next year. The strong root systems of weeds will compete with new transplants for water, nutrients and light. Deadheading should continue, too. Removal of spent flowers at the stem base supports plant energy for development of more fruit, veggies or flowers.



Freshly planted vegetable and flower seedlings are likely to need a bit of sun hardening. Shelter them with 50 percent shadecloth, old net curtains, dead palm fronds, or leafy branches for a week or two. This helps them establish without harm. Northern boundaries may benefit from some extra shade. Strategically placing a deciduous tree, vine or some clumping bamboo to shield your house and garden from searing western sunshine is a good option. 


When temperatures outside drive you inside, start prepping for next year’s garden based on this year’s outcomes. Set yourself up for success by documenting where everything was planted and how it did. Think ahead applies to spring-blooming bulbs, too, such as tulips and daffodils that are planted in the fall. Cool season crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach and collards will also planted in September along with another round of lettuce, parsley, cilantro and more.



Estate master-planning is more than a collaboration with the building architect in the siting of structures within the border of large properties—it is the synthesis of the owner’s specific desire while acknowledging the opportunities and constraints of the site. These larger estates require recognizable sequence of outdoor event and destinations.

Camp and Camp’s design of this Diablo Valley estate blends an informal, yet disciplined, assembly of plant material surrounding the motor court and provides a natural sloping base for the home while connecting it to the more natural areas of the site. 

The property also hosts a main terrace equipped with sculptures, fireplace, Amphitheatre-styled terrace, six-foot copper birdbath and reflecting pool, plus a magnificent outdoor kitchen. Additional site features include the pool bathhouse, studio, bocce ball, multi-sport court, putting green and extensive garden paths.

Go “behind the greens” of this spectacular project in this month’s issue of Diablo Magazine (pg. 115).  


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Coming up on his one-year anniversary as a Landscape Designer with the firm, Rocky Avitia has a wide range of duties at Camp & Camp, including design meetings, site inventory, 3D rendering, producing construction documents, and construction administration. This perspective gives him the ability to see projects from start to finish.

 Growing up in Lodi, Calif., and later a student of Architecture at San Joaquin Delta College, Rocky continues to advance his educational learning at Merritt College in Oakland where he is obtaining an Associates Degree in Landscape Architecture. He has been married for nine years to his wife, Daisy, and together they have one son, eight-year-old Charlie.

We sat down with Rocky to learn more about his ideas and inspiration, and what thrills him outside of his career in landscape design.

 1.       You grew up in Lodi which is best known for being a center of wine grape production, also known as the "Zinfandel Capital of the World." As a landscape designer, any advice for wine enthusiasts looking to grow vines on their property?

 I’m an advocate for edibles in the landscape. Being from the Lodi area, grapes in particular are often used in the landscape and they don’t necessarily need to be a planted as a vineyard. Grapes are vines, so they need to have some structure to climb on. This could be in the form of either a trellis, arbor, or a fence. Surprisingly, grapes do not require too much care other than annual pruning which make them easy to grow. They add seasonal interest to the garden throughout the year and attract beneficial insects. There’s a grapevine for every climate; as long as you have sun, air circulation, and well-drained soil you can grow grapes!

2.       From a lifestyle perspective, when designing for residential, are there certain exterior features you see families enjoying the most in their outdoor spaces, time and time again?

The ability to have an area to gather to cook, eat, and talk to each other is important. Areas such as a fire pit, dining areas and outdoor kitchens bring everyone together and is where we can create lasting memories.

3.       When you tell people about your job, what’s one thing that surprises them, or gets them excited about the work you do?

People love the visual stuff. They get a kick from the 3D Animations we can create for Clients.

4.       What do you enjoy most about working for Camp & Camp?

I enjoy the ability to express my creativity in our Landscape Designs. We are a collaborative team and because we work closely together, with a mutual respect of ideas, the design always evolves further.

5.       As our resident Dad on the Camp & Camp team, tell us about your son and your favorite family outing in the Bay Area?

Our 8-year-old son Charlie is a smart kid who loves to draw, play sports, and video games. Like myself, he enjoys everything having to do with plants. As a family we love to travel and get out as much as we can. Watching a baseball game or an outdoor concert would be an ideal family outing.

 6.       If you wanted to surprise us with something about you, like a hobby or hidden talent, what would that be?

I’m pretty good at the saxophone. I also love to ride motorcycles. On the road or off road, if it has two wheels I’ll ride it.

7.       Of all the landscapes in the world, what’s your favorite scene?

Have yet to visit the gardens in Granada, Spain. From my personal experience I would say the garden at The Getty Villa in Malibu. Particularly beautiful in the evening hours during sunset.

8.       Where do you draw inspiration that you bring into your work?

My inspiration comes from all around me. Our families, our communities, our culture, and our country.


Summer kicks off the entertaining season and there are many ways to extend your living and entertaining space from indoors outward—to create the ultimate backyard lifestyle. The team at Camp & Camp emphasize these three elements for outdoor living—adding ambience and functionality to your outdoor environment. 

 The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchens

Pictured: Landscape Architect Terry Camp worked collaboratively with this Orinda couple and their landscape team to turn their backyard wishes into a reality. This kitchen was designed by Camp and Camp with serious entertaining in mind. The expansive backyard features a fully independent outdoor kitchen with an all-Kalamazoo product lineup, requested for its design flexibility, performance and superior features. To go behind the design of this scenic outdoor space, read more in:   Kalamazoo Gourmet   .

Pictured: Landscape Architect Terry Camp worked collaboratively with this Orinda couple and their landscape team to turn their backyard wishes into a reality. This kitchen was designed by Camp and Camp with serious entertaining in mind. The expansive backyard features a fully independent outdoor kitchen with an all-Kalamazoo product lineup, requested for its design flexibility, performance and superior features. To go behind the design of this scenic outdoor space, read more in: Kalamazoo Gourmet.

An outdoor kitchen represents the height of entertaining luxury. Whether you are dreaming of a rustic outdoor pizza oven or a sleek line of stainless steel appliances, adding an outdoor kitchen can extend your living and entertaining space substantially. 

 For the planning stage for your new kitchen, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Whether it’s a portable set up, an island kitchen, or full outdoor cooking space with top of the line appliances, consider how you’ll use the space, where it’s located, and how it will hold up to the elements. This will help determine your design to a functional and long-lasting kitchen.

 Stay Cool with Shaded Structures

In the hot summer months, a shaded area will make outdoor cooking and entertaining much more pleasant. To provide shade and shelter, plant some nearby trees or incorporate an awning or pergola in the design. For seating areas, consider a patio umbrella. By adding some creature comforts, you can ensure that your outdoor space is welcoming and comfortable no matter what season it is.

Layouts Designed for Comfort & Conversation

Whether designing for a small balcony, on a deck with a view, or for an expansive patio, the ideal layout of your outdoor space is one that fosters living, comfort and conversation.  There are endless configurations to create an outdoor living room, but the key is to pull in plenty of varied seating options and thoughtful zones. Some rules of thumb: use materials and colors that complement the home’s architecture and design; furniture should be to scale and preserve sight lines; and always keep the area in front of the doors clear.

CAMP ON CAMP: LIKE FATHER LIKE SON Essay by Terry Camp by Camp & Camp

Born in Havana, my father, William Camp, was raised in Cuba with his two brothers until he was 14 years old, while attending a U.S. Military Academy. While in Cuba, he contracted polio, malaria and a host of other tropical diseases. His recovery from polio left him with a severe limp and unable to serve his country during World War II.

His family eventually escaped the overthrow of the government during the Batista regime and fled back to the United States. Although they left all their assets behind, and lost everything they had built while in Havana, they managed to retain the San Diego Victorian Mansion the family had owned. They opened up a soup kitchen at the Mansion upon returning to California in 1929 after the Stock Market Crash.

Caption:  The founder of Camp & Camp, William Camp, was raised in Cuba with his two brothers while attending a U.S. Military Academy. His son, protégé and business partner, Terry Camp, finds great admiration how William used adversity in is childhood to build character and confidence in his life and career.

Caption: The founder of Camp & Camp, William Camp, was raised in Cuba with his two brothers while attending a U.S. Military Academy. His son, protégé and business partner, Terry Camp, finds great admiration how William used adversity in is childhood to build character and confidence in his life and career.

It was then that he headed north to the University of California at Berkeley in 1935 where he put himself through Architecture School by washing dishes in Sorority houses. I always thought that would be a great way to get dates! He continued on to Graduate School there and became a Licensed Architect in 1943.  His amazing tale of adversity, determination and humility was such an inspiration that I never swayed from my dream of being just like my Dad and to study architecture in his footsteps.

Alongside our connected passion for landscape architecture and design, I am also proud to be of service to our country. As a veteran of the United States Naval Submarine Service, I served during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Razorback SS394, providing intelligence for ship movements, enemy operations, and troop support.

In the late 1960’s and early 70’s I studied Architecture and Environmental Planning at San Diego State University and California State University at Sonoma.  I then joined my father and started Camp & Camp in 1972 out of a shared love for integrated design and quality environments through an innovative marriage of architecture and landscape design. We’ve been fortunate to be involved in the planning and design of thousands of large-scale communities, complexes, urban environments, and custom residential gardens in the S.F. Bay Area and throughout the United States and Asia.


My passion extends well beyond the design profession, including active work for my church, in the arena of alcohol and drug addiction and on behalf of the homeless community. Though I am not a father myself, the other joy in my life is the sponsorship of a little boy, Reilin Hernandez, in the Dominican Republic. I am blessed with the gift of loving Reilin and his family through Compassion International.  I am able to visit his family for a couple of weeks every year in their village. Watching him mature and participating in his social and spiritual growth brings a special meaning and perspective to my life.


Welcome, Summer…the season of abundance. The extra hours of sunlight give us the time to nurture our creative energies; to appreciate growth and maturation of gardens bursting with flowers and vegetables; and weather conducive for shared outings and recreational sports, parties and barbecues. With longer and warmer days officially upon us, we also face common challenges with our outdoor environments. It’s a balancing act to keep our gardens not just surviving—but thriving.

In this issue of The Summit—a bi-monthly news compilation of projects, places and people who inspire our work—the Camp & Camp team shares their Top 3 Tips for Outdoor Entertaining. Plus read our Summer Survival Guide with sage advice to ensure you are properly optimizing your gardens this season, whether at home or as part of a larger master-plan.

This month also brings more time with family, travel and holidays, including one of my favorites, Father’s Day, honoring the important role Dads play in our lives—at any age. Reflecting on my own Father, I remain in awe of his fortitude in the face of a challenging childhood, how he contributed to my career in design, as well as influenced my personal passion to help shape a better future for others.  I hope you will enjoy this reflection in my personal essay, Camp on Camp: Like Father Like Son.

In this spirit, we also sat down with landscape designer and Camp & Camp’s resident dad-on-duty Rocky Avitia. In Around the Campfire,” Rocky shares a couple of project highlights and a few of his favorite family friendly destinations in the Bay Area.

 I hope this change in season shines brightly for all you, our partners and friends, and cultivates new growth in all aspects of your home, business and life.

  --Terry Camp

President, Principal Landscape Architect

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