This Week In Lawn-Free Front Yards

That's minimal, alright:

Two projects seen in the neighborhood:  one that could have been better, one a complete Fail.
The fail first, so you are not left completely depressed.  This one planted about a year ago got no maintenance, and the plants--Lavenders, etc, got no water.  Most everything died, except a couple of lucky Arctostaphylos.  
Just no love at all.  
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The two Arctostaphylos are the green spots--everything else green is on the other side of the property line.
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Rosemary, Hesperaloe ("Red Yucca"), and an Agave augustifolia look okay, but the rest is mostly dead.  No love, no love, no care.  It looks worse in person. 
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Another property nearby made more of an effort.  Each plant at least has drip irrigation. 
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I'm confused about the clumps of  Stipa (Nasella) tenuissima--do they think they will get bigger than that?   
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The Dasylirion will, and I was happy to see it far enough from the walkway and sidewalk to avoid getting hacked back.  Not sure about the construction on this walkway, though.  Is that correct?
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The more minimal you go, the better the design has to be.
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The 60s' ranch house itself is cool and deserves a great front garden.  This garden may not be it.  
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There are a couple of true ground cover Bougainvilleas--unfortunately they did not plant those.  At least the violet Bougie is less vigorous than the red.
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The decomposed granite on the slope is going to be a problem if it ever rains.  A bit of irrigation water already forms the start of a gully through the DG:
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I don't quite understand the stake for  the 'Desert Museum' tree.  It's just there, not holding anything up.
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A big miss on the plants, for me.  Imagine instead just blue, silver, and grey--'Blue Glow' Agave, the whitest of the Agave titanotas, Maireana sedifolia as a silvery blue shrub, and the blue Arizona Cypress 'San Pedro Matir' as the trees.  Wouldn't that have looked cool against that blue-grey and white ranch house?  I don't understand that tree stake, either.
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Far more interesting than a lawn, though.   



  1. I love minimalism...but not always...and not in my backyard.

    1. It's hard--or impossible--for a plant lover to be a minimalist, don't you think? There's a stunning local garden that started out minimalist, but gradually pots of all sort of things are edging the walkways there like a bathtub ring. And a masterful design is a must...

  2. Today, a neighbor stopped and asked me if I'd taken out the front lawn - as if it wasn't evident by the great mass of bare dirt with not a blade of grass in sight. Then she asked if I was going to plant anything - it hadn't occurred to me that anyone would think otherwise but I guess your neighbors' gardens represent that possibility. (Although why she'd think my husband and I've been out there day after day, digging up the soil throughout the area, sifting out grass roots, sod netting and rocks, I can't begin to guess). In any case, she was clearly relieved to hear that I wasn't going to bring down the neighborhood home values by leaving the area bare.

    1. Here a few people have simply let everything die. Perhaps that is what neighbor is thinking? A small sign that says "Landscape Renovation In Progress, Thank You For Your Patience" is how the pros handle the situation. I have tolerant neighbors, but they know it's my hobby, so they seem to view the changes as on-going entertainment.

      Your work has been intense and valiant in this recent heat. That sod netting is a bear, no? Worse than roots or rocks.

  3. Any chance that's just phase one on the second garden? So so so barren.

    1. I think a flipper or new owner might have done that yard, then it sold again or got repo'd again; it appears someone is remodeling again, so perhaps they will redo the thing one more time. I'm not a big fan of the natives/shrubby style, as it looks like heck in the dry season unless the people really really know what they are doing. That level of knowledge generally has not developed here yet. The local native plant nursery is planning to redo the neighborhood fire station grounds very soon in the native/shrubby style, so I'm looking forward to seeing that project, as those plant nursery guys are about as skilled as they get.

  4. Those plants you mentioned would look great indeed in the property on the last photo. Lots of 'oops' there, talk about minimalist planting but not in a good way. At least there are no weeds...


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