Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another Lawn Removal Example

We pass by this home whenever we take a trip to the home improvement store.  New owners reworked the front yard about a year ago and I've been meaning to get a closer look since then.  On today's shopping trip, I finally did.  This was originally a nicely maintained yard with lawn and a few Archontophoenix palms.   I think the previous owners reduced the lawn size somewhat and added some 'Iceberg' roses to spruce it up, and it looked even better.  New owners remodeled it again, and the design is now lawn-free.  
Iceberg roses there on the side, in the foreground.  
 This is a busy street so the owners had screens put up in front of the windows, perhaps for privacy.  Once upon a time, this was a dead-end street that was very quiet.  An old citrus orchard was transformed into housing and the street was no longer dead-end and no longer quiet.  

Not sure I'd do the screens--busy or not, would you want to look out on a fence?   Looks okay from the sidewalk, though.  There's a good wide path to the front door past a section of decomposed granite, blocks of plants, including yellow-foliaged Euonymous, five conical conifers, and four 'Desert Museum' trees that could use some (properly done) re-staking.
 The "annual color" at this moment is red Cyclamens, just barely visible.  Last summer it was purple Petunias.  
 To the side of the home is a block of formally arranged Salvia leucantha, Buxus, Red Pennisetum clumping grasses, Phormiums, pink flowered groundcover Roses, and Hemerocallis.

Here's that formal block from the side:
  Materials on the mailbox enclosure could be better.  The hellstrip is very narrow and is done in decomposed granite. 
 The hellstrip on the side of the home has several Lophostemnon conferta aka Tristania conferta common name Brisbane Box trees underplanted with clump grasses, Cistanthe grandiflora, Cordylines, and a lone Agave (not clearly visible): 


 I would have gone with Myrtus instead of Box (better heat resistance, less thirsty), and something besides pink ground cover roses (they don't do well here).  The Salvia leucantha spreads over time so that grid of them won't be orderly forever, but overall, very well done.  We enjoy seeing it every time we pass by. 

We may exceed or at least reach our historic average rainfall this weekend--over the next four days several more inches of rain are predicted and we have already received close to ten inches of rain since October 1st.  Will lawn removal projects continue if drought takes a few years off?  

23 comments:

  1. When the plants have grown out in a couple of years the vieuw may be better. What I don't understand is the fence in front of the window. The size of the gardens in your neighbourghood are so huge. It's great to reed you got some rain. Overhere we have frosty weather but the sun is shining, important to me to feel happy after the long weeks of dark grey sky's. I am longing for springtime.
    Have a wonderful day Hoover thank you for sharing.

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    1. Well, unless a person is indoors--perhaps from that angle the fences in front of the windows make more sense. You never know. This neighborhood has very large gardens for Southern California and it is one reason we like it so much. People need some space. It is good not to be crammed in together.

      I'm glad you are getting some sunshine. Long months of grey can be so gloomy. Have a beautiful day and hopefully another sunny one, Marijke!

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  2. I like it.

    The mailbox matches the color of the screens and house trim. When the shrubs grow taller the screens can be removed. But they give instant privacy for now. Cobbles are appealing; they match the color of the slabs, but contrast in texture. Too many designers are going with too many spiky plants planted too far apart. Here the plants are planted close together and are much softer in profile. Cyclamen gives a little seasonal color. Icebergs, salvias are stalwarts here. Remains to seen how some of the other like phormiums work out. Designer is to be congratulated for getting a softer yet waterwise look.

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    1. Yes, the Phormiums-will they get enormous? The mailbox design is good but the wood seems a little flimsy. The screens are a different material and appear more substantial.

      I've seen the homeowner out there working on and looking around at his garden--I found that especially cheering--so few people around here seem to pay any attention to their gardens. He got a fine garden and I hope he continues to take an interest in it.

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  3. Interesting how you temper your observations about a striking planting with very practical considerations of heat and rainfall. The landscaping is different to how we might do it here in the UK but that is a the nature of gardening. I enjoyed the read.

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    1. Thank you, Ian. Glad you found it of interest. Our experience here over the past five years of drought has really sharpened understanding of what plants work here long term and through the heat of summer. The drought has been educational and so not entirely a bad thing.

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  4. Hi HooverBoo,
    Thanks for your post...I like seeing what people do--what they've done here is so much more interesting than lawn. We just planted CA natives in our formerly-lawned front yard (literally, 3 days ago!) & now soaking up all this rain. I wonder if my neighbors think we acted too quickly w/ our lawn removal ;) ? I love your blog...thanks again. -Holly

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    1. The neighbors may envy your smaller water bill come August, however. :) Perfect timing that you got the plants into the ground just in time for this significant rainfall: well done!

      Thank you for visiting, Holly. Glad you liked the post.

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  5. It's an attractive landscape, if a little too uniform for my taste but, as you said, it will seem less so when the plants mature and merge a bit. I'm not at all sorry my own lawn is gone but I suspect the rain will dissuade others in my neighborhood from removing theirs. That would be too bad as a single year of decent-to-good rain doesn't mean an end to the urgency of effectively managing our water supply. I look forward to the day that lawns are no longer fashionable in SoCal.

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    1. Here the size of the water bill seems to be as least as much a motivator as the drought was. Hopefully the drought and resulting move towards more climate-appropriate landscaping has gotten a few more people more interested in gardening and in plants. There's a lot of experimenting going on, which is a nice thing.

      I like formal gardens even though I have a very non-formal one. Variety is spice! :)

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    2. I think I would have a very formal garden--if only I had the discipline. Which I don't!

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  6. I like the look of the screens and can relate to wanting to create privacy, but I would have put them another 10 feet out and landscaped inside. Of course we don't know what the back is like and maybe those rooms along the front aren't used for daily living space. I wonder if they will plant in that DG on the hell strip ?

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    1. I like your idea about the screens farther out. The house next door has walls farther out, and the one next to that has a hedge along the sidewalk for maximum garden inside the hedge. Two houses across the street have hedges, too. I guess when you go from a dead-end street to a busy one, you want some semblance privacy--or you move.

      The plain DG hell strip has been that way over a year, so I don't think it will be planted--sensible I think because it's a foot wide, at most.

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  7. Nice work! I like the use of small stones and gravel for mulch. Another lawn hits the dust, so to speak.

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    1. Yes I like the pebbles, too. They add a nice texture contrast to the DG and plants.

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  8. I like it, very creative. I started work on my own hellstrip last fall and am still mulling ideas. I think I want small boulders dotted along it with grasses and low-growing roses and perennials. I just don't know yet. I would love to see this as it matures.

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    1. Just be mindful of visitors parking there--will they be able to open passenger side doors?

      I'll be watching to see how this project does. It seems to be getting dedicated maintenance, at least.

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  9. I like it and the look of the window screens, but not sure I would want to live behind them.

    Our trip to the airport yesterday was a soggy one. Rivers running down the sides of the 405 and lakes around the rental car return facility. The shuttle driver was quite worked up "it doesn't rain for 8 years and then we get 8 years of rain in a day!"...

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    1. Yes, the window screens make me wonder. The house two doors down put a hedge along the sidewalk and has a garden inside that.

      Well obviously the shuttle driver isn't a gardener--we plant people seem to know exactly how much rain has fallen! Hope you had a good trip!

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    2. I had a wonderful trip and due in no small part to spending the day with you and Kris and touring your and Kay's gardens. Wow. WOW! BTW my plants all made it home safely.

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    3. Yay! Happy you had fun. Give Lila a kiss for us!

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  10. There is an optimistic letter in our local newspaper - it the drought just a blip for this year?

    Hope that the more interesting lawnless gardens, will inspire the stragglers to follow the sensible trend.

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    1. I hope your drought eases quickly Diana! It damages wildlife and wild plants, of which your area has such extraordinary species.

      I think people are appreciating that less lawn can be interesting, and save them money at the same time. I think it will continue now that people see more and more successful examples in their own neighborhood.

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