Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No grass yards

Easy-care deck and patio

No-chores backyard

Easy-care plants and materials create a low-maintenance garden that can fend for itself for weeks at a stretch. See how durable furnishings, bulletproof plants, no-fuss flooring, and clever details make it work.

I live in a state that is difficult to grow grass, it has to be re-planted every spring. I found this article while searching for a maintenance friendly idea. The cost of the wood deck would pretty much cover the cost of replanting every year.

low-water yard design

Big on features, not on grass

Bridges, islands, and a shaded fireplace add plenty of whimsical details to this Albuquerque backyard­­—no water necessary. And a smattering of carefully chosen drought-resistant plants offer just enough no-fuss greenery to create a lush feel.

Front-yard meadow

Front-yard meadow

Two great ideas from this garden

Grassy screen Tall Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ grass screens the sitting area from the street.

“Character” plants From fluffy mounds to floppy giants: Rusty-hued Carex testacea softens the front path, while green kniphofia, plum Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Libertia peregrinans ‘Bronze Sword’, and euphorbia surround the ‘Karl Foerster’ grass. Across the path, drifts of Picea sitchensis ‘Papoose’, variegated iris, and Phormium ‘Dusky Chief’ encircle a ginkgo tree.

I feel this is a bit much, looks a little overgrown, I would consentrate on shorter plants.

 Low water yard.

Drought-tolerant yard

A low retaining wall of stacked flagstone has the effect of setting this San Diego house and garden on a pedestal. The wide pathway, also of flagstone, adds importance, too.

Dymondia margaretae, a gray-leafed South African ground cover, has replaced the lawn, and a range of drought-tolerant plants, including New Zealand flax (Phormium), kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos), Leucadendron, and Lomandra add further interest.

Good balance here, the lower plants allow the house to be seen better and not look overpowering.

 Lawn-free makeover

Easy-care front yard

Flagstone paths curve through a low-water front yard. A low berm of soil on either side of the walk adds interest, and weed cloth topped with permeable pea gravel allows excess water to soak into the earth rather than run off into the street.

Water-wise front yard

Santa Monica eco-conscious landscape

Three great ideas from this garden

1. Use permeable paving It helps rainfall percolate easily into the soil. The paths in the Zinners' garden are covered with gravel, and a small square patio in the front yard is of decomposed granite.

2. Extend the season Since most California natives bloom in spring, combine them with plants that flower at other times. Blanc added butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), coral fountain (Russelia equisetiformis), and Mexican lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora) for summer color.

3. Go on sustainable-garden tours You'll find ideas as well as designers who can help you realize them. The Zinners discovered garden designer Stephanie Blanc on such a tour.


A natural backyard

Plant natives, and birds will follow. That's what Mary and Joe Bochiechio found when they installed their garden in San Marcos.

After removing the lawn, designer and contractor Greg Rubin ― who specializes in California natives ― installed a meandering path bordered by fragrant 'Bee's Bliss' salvia, wild lilacs, and an existing non-native purple tree mallow ― all pretty, low-water plants.

I love this idea for the sounds of the water, not sure it would work in my back yard.

Water management

Water wisdom saves irrigation dollars

Style and practicality determined the design of this water-conserving garden in Clovis, California. For owner Claudia Kus, the distinctively Southwestern house style suggested a less thirsty garden to match. But the real issues ― a costly water supply, serious soil problems, and the hot, dry summers of the San Joaquin Valley ― were the clinchers.

As in many areas of the West, water is precious ― a limited commodity. Kus needed to manage carefully the available water.

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