Living in the high Sierra provides a distinctive sense of place and season. The natural landscape is integral to life in our unique alpine environment. For mountain gardeners, including owner John Fellows and his designers at Aspen Hollow, the object of an alpine garden is to create a sense of wilderness and serenity, an attitude of living with nature, not fighting or trivializing it.

Whether walking through meadows or beside streams, paddling lakes or hiking the high country trails, we find secret places that speak to us, places shaped by time and water, sun and stone, snow and ice. The dwarfed conifers and shrubs present a scale we appreciate, that we want to re-create in our home environments to transport us back to the special wild places we love. With a background in art, masonry, fine woodworking, building and landscaping, John Fellows and his team are sought out for their expertise in creating outdoor environments that echo these treasured wild places.

The designers at Aspen Hollow Landscape Nursery implement design principles that bring the beauty of the alpine environment to the home or commercial landscape. Working directly with clients, we are dedicated to integrity at every level, from providing superior plant stock and materials to addressing the unique set of environmental and beaurocratic challenges every project faces in the Lake Tahoe Basin. We have access to some of the finest craftsmen and builders in the whole basin and the artistic experience to match talent and project seamlessly.

Integrated environments,
fashioned by nature,
informed by an artist’s eye.


One of the challenges we welcome is providing solutions for replacing large areas of resource-intensive lawn. Smaller areas of lawn can flow to adjoining decks and terraces to create a more social area that expands into native grasses and wildflower meadows. A recycling creek or pond will bring birds in abundance, use fewer resources than plants and lawn, landscapelewyand add an ongoing source of delight. Our clients love to take advantage of our expertise in waterscaping and creating other unique focal areas, such as a sculpture sited in a natural setting or a well-placed bench.

Another guiding principle for Aspen Hollow is to leave as much of the native landscape as possible. As there are many reasons why building is restricted in wetland areas, most properties in the Tahoe Basin are dry-land sites. The native plant species on these sites are usually mature and well-established, surviving and thriving with very little water and the specific microbes and mycorrhizae of the soil, as well as enduring years of heavy snow loads. Our designers can give areas of existing native landscaping a little help, using thinning and pruning techniques, and boulder placement to maximize their aesthetic appeal and fire resistance.