You remember the good old days of the lawn, right? Running around barefoot with your friends, pretending the dogs were sharks. I remember those days quite well because this is my lawn right now… and I’m feeling horribly guilty for having it.
It’s not a very big lawn. But with the recent declaration that all Californians have to cut back on water usage at least 25%, I’m a little concerned. My other plants are already drought tolerant and I only water the lawn three times a week compared to some people who water every day. It does look pretty lush though, right? Do you think it would be okay with only watering twice a week? Do I want brown grass? Maybe I should apply for a rebate and just rip it out (my husband’s vote). But if I don’t have a lawn, what would I have?
We already replaced the small patch of lawn in the back with artificial grass two years ago.
I have to say, it looks pretty darn good. But here’s my issue with artificial grass…it’s expensive, you have to keep cleaning it or it starts to smell not-so-nice (especially when you have three dogs), and I really wonder what’s going to happen to all that artificial grass once it’s past it’s prime. Is that going to be what’s filling up our landfills? Clearly I chose to ignore the question and just did it because I couldn’t bear not having at least a little green in my backyard and battling three dogs is futile. But the front is different. If you weren’t going to have a lawn, what would you have? I decided to spend a morning in the neighborhood that surrounds our store in Atwater Village and see what some other people had done.
This is a house I’ve always admired. It’s just agaves, aloes, grasses and fescue, but when the coral aloe is blooming, it’s amazing and I know I would be happy looking at it all the time.
Plus I bet they only have to water this once or maybe twice a week.
Here’s another house. More succulents (which is always a good thing) and I like how they’ve ringed the planting bed with river rock and then given it a gravel path so you had someplace to go around it. And the berm adds interest in the middle.
And this was a nice touch. The rocks are clean and obviously don’t require water but it doesn’t feel completely like a moon landscape.
This house definitely has a more “southwest” feeling to it. I can’t imagine it at my house, but I think it goes with this Spanish house just fine.
I know the Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) can be invasive (golden tufts cropping up throughout the landscape) but you could use a different type of grass like the pennisetum on the right. And clearly it’s using very little water as the drip heads look like they’ve been pulled up a while ago. The Crassula in the window boxes are just stunning too. What amazing color.
Here was a no-lawn front yard that was completely different. Much more like an English cottage garden, though a lot of the plants are drought tolerant.
And this dwarf citrus is adorable. I like this garden a lot…but maybe just a tad too formal for me.
And this one was a tad too informal for me. I like to think of myself as a pretty wild girl, but not this wild. It’s like plant anarchy.
This is the house next door which was on the Theodore Payne Native Garden Tour but it has the same problem for me…too overgrown and wild. That’s always been my fear of native gardens…that they end up looking like this, though I absolutely get that for some people, this is exactly what they want. Something for everyone, I say.
This garden is also a bit wild, but I like the pruned hedges with the rest of it…it gives it a certain tension that doesn’t make it feel out of control (hmm, I’m sensing I may have some control issues here).
It’s cute. But still not sure if this is me.
This house was a very plain stucco house, but the meadow-like garden in front is really lovely. And look, it seems to have a berm on each side. Hmm, berms…
I like how this house showed a progression from light planting to heavy. It has a very Mediterranean feeling.
It looks natural and I think the openness makes it look much larger than it is.
This is probably one of the most photographed homes in Atwater.
The mature cactus garden was created by the owner who is a landscape designer.
The specimen plants are really quite something. It kind of has the magical feeling of a baby Lotusland in Santa Barbara (if you’ve never been, you should go!)
I used to live next door to this house. Once there was a Jacaranda tree in front that allowed nothing to thrive underneath. Obviously that’s changed now, but I don’t know if an endless sea of lantana is the way to go either…but I’m sure it’s easy to care for.
This house really made me happy. The yellow door with the yellow blooming Palo Verde tree were just incredible.
And again I see that the plants have been grouped into areas with the gravel laid around them to give space, definition and a place to walk. I like this garden a lot. Should I rip out my brick pathways too?
This garden with the lovely cobalt blue gate I could relate to because I have a fence in the front as well. I like the acacia and when you peered over the fence, it looked like the South of France with agaves, salvias and succulents.
Crazily enough, I think I liked this house the best. Again, I really seem to be attracted to the berms…and the boulders. They really add interest and a sense of adventure.
And I love the meandering path to the door…but do I love decomposed granite? Not especially.
If you’ve been having my same lawn guilt dilemma, first check to see if your water district is offering rebates. In Los Angeles the bewaterwise program will give you ideas on how to conserve and SoCal WaterSmart offers $3.75 a square foot to do it (but make sure you’ve looked into all the requirements here…funding is quickly disappearing and there are very set rules and guidelines to qualify.) It’s definitely an incentive to pull out your lawn though and maybe it will just help us all get through this drought in California.
I am gonna miss hunting for sharks in the grass though…