Most murals are created with paint, ceramic tiles, or photographs. Mike Pyle, a Laguna Beach landscape designer, uses succulents to create his pieces of art, many of which are renditions of famous works of art, including Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun.”
While making “living walls” is nothing new, Pyle’s approach requires much more precision and artistry. Planting “single plugs” instead of six-packs of plants allows him to bring great detail to his succulent murals, each of which is encased in a wooden frame. “I love what I do every day,” says Pyle. “I strive to be better than my last design. I try to find a cleaner, better way to design…something that hasn’t been done before.”
His work hasn’t gone unnoticed. With more than 40,000 Instagram followers, Pyle has become something of a sensation for his out-of-the-box planting techniques—and his rugged good looks haven’t hurt either. He’s also a humanitarian, having donated succulent murals to both the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.
Besides murals, he creates elaborate in-ground designs that consist of symmetrical rows and circles, turning what might have been a mishmash of water-wise plants into a vibrant masterpiece.
With 12 years of experience in the landscape design industry, his work extends beyond succulent gardens. He is also well versed in designing hardscape, water features, fire pits, and working with various types of ornamental plants. Having lived in both Palm Springs and Orange County, his style of design incorporates the two climates—his is a kind of desert-meets-beach vibe.
“I try to create something very unique and drought tolerant within my specific style of design,” Pyle says. “Something that sets me apart from others.”
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