Another State Of Lawnlessness
Not to worry, it will be back. It's Bermuda grass.
Another neighborhood cruise, again contemplating the state of lawnlessness.
First strategy: a hedge along the sidewalk to hide the former lawn that is now mulch. The rich, uniform color of the hedge provides the green rest so pleasing to the human brain, the rest we usually get from lawn.
Black plastic edging, to hold the mulch in.
A mishmash of shrubs by the foundation.
Long term, what will happen? The young hedge provides green color. The mulch appears to provide extra parking. I blogged about this yard several years ago. The property had a huge dead pine tree, several Liquidambar trees, and lawn where the mulch is now. Solid tree roots under that mulch? If so, the mulch is a great idea for a few years, until the tree roots decompose.
Variant: a hedge along the sidewalk to hide the lawn that used to be. Cloud-pruned conifers and Cycas revolutas and empty spaces--a gardener used to live here. A poodle walker, passing by, stopped to chat. This former lawn has been in this state for many years. That perimeter hedge is Syzygium, in fantastic good health. The conifers appear watered by hand.
Second strategy: a mix of tough, common shrubs, a small area of artificial turf, with a strip of artificial as the hellstrip. A tree proportional to the size of the property and the home. The homeowner was in the garage--they had just purchased the property and were moving in. I asked him how he liked the artificial turf. "It looks great. I think I like it!" Fine design, not overly ambitions or trendy, knowledgeably maintained. A winner. Hopefully the new homeowner retains the former's gardener.
The learning curve is steep and slippery. Some manage to climb the curve. Some don't. Some don't bother. This house is being worked on.
Where did they get the idea a plastic covering over soil was a good idea, do you think? Though those particular Agaves (americana, rampant and weedy here) and that nasty palm, in my opinion, deserve plastic over their soil.
Phoenix roblenii planted 2" from the foundation, on the extreme left. Hopefully they have plastic sheet mulch, too.
I found the 60's era garden ornaments gathered into the raised bed by the door incredibly, painfully poignant. How many of them were Mother's Day gifts? Someone gardened here once, likely without covering the soil with sheets of plastic.
Around the corner, someone did fairly well, focusing on plants for birds, bees, and butterflies. Is the Parkinsonia too close to the pink Crepe Myrtle? The 18" above ground sprinklers--how does that work?
Hum. If well maintained, decent. If not maintained, depressing.
I'm not fond of the yellow Parkinsonia flowers with the pink of the Crepe myrtle, but that could just be me. Better a pair of Crepe myrtles. Or the one Parkinsonia. Or the one Crepe myrtle.
Big points for effort, I think. Maintain, guys. Maintain.
I wish I knew the origins of the White Gravel Garden. Surely once, long ago, when what is now called Mid Century Modern was the new new thing, one particular garden of white gravel was iconic. Fantastic. Unforgettable. In the decades since, thousands of attempts to duplicate that look have all failed miserably.
It doesn't require water, you must admit...
The odd collection of what plants are there look healthy and cared for. The home is neat, clean, orderly. A drip system to water the plants. But...what if the fence was yellow, like the plastic daffodils?
Another one property down the street. Hmmm. Imagine uniformly trimmed buns of Jade plant (indestructible here, no irrigation needed) regularly spaced, in a grid...of all the same gravel...would that work? Somewhere out there, is someone who has made a white gravel and succulent garden with pizazz, style, humor, and above all, wit. Where is it?
And a rock every four feet, around the edge of brown plastic...
White gravel, white fence, dead tree.
Just a door or two away, a bit of amazement, a hellstrip of beautiful little splashes of color:
And the bed on the other side of the walkway.
No one has stepped on these easily crushed little plants. No one has kicked them, stolen them, broken them...they are pristine, growing, healthy.
Amazing. Those beautiful little succulents have all been there at least a year, too, unscathed. The property has a very narrow front yard, maybe fifteen feet wide, walled off. A bench, a few common, tough shrubs, no lawn, little water required. It does function, in its own way.
I should have included one of the many lawn-with-foundation-shrubs in the neighborhood, lest you think it a neighborhood of eccentricity. It's mostly not.
Let us end with a gardener's garden, though. I learned it was a gardener's garden when two more dog walkers paused to ask me snapping pictures if I was one of those drought-shamers. Oh, no. Just admiring this one, looking for examples of the lawnless learning curve mastered.
A fine mix of succulents with some California and southwestern native plants.
Oh yes, the dogwalkers said. She's out there all the time, working away on her plants. She's dedicated. It shows, I agreed, it shows. Another state of lawnlessness altogether.