Showing by category: Lawn Alternatives

Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden     Part 2
Phew - I've been busy!  As promised a few weeks ago, here's the next phase of my front lawn-removal project. After deciding on the materials and final shape of the pathways, the next step was to remove the lawn.  A physically grueling task to be sure. Enlisting some help from one with a much stronger back than I, we (the British 'we', that is) removed it by hand, making sure to dig deep to remove any stray lawn roots that might be left behind.  The last thing I want is grass to appear mysteriously in my new planting areas. Using read more
Goodbye lawn, hello garden!    Part 1
It's a new year and with it comes the oh-so-familiar new year's resolutions.  And while I rarely keep the ones I make (lose weight, exercise more, blah blah blah) this is a resolution that's long overdue and one that I'm thrilled to undertake: getting rid of my unused front lawn. With California's lowest recorded rainfall in its history (that's over 160 years!), the timing is perfect to practice what I preach.  Even though I remove lawns for many of my clients (here, here, here and here) I just haven't been able to find the time to take care of my own read more
Shades of Gray in a No-Lawn Front Garden
I'm thrilled to announce that one of the gardens I designed for a client is featured in this month's Sunset magazine (if you don't subscribe, you can read about it here in their online version). While the folks at Sunset did a fantastic job capturing the drought-tolerant aspects of this garden (the homeowners reduced their water bill by 40%!) I thought I'd go into a little more detail about using the very-gray colored Dymondia margaretae as a lawn substitute, and the tricks I use to keep the color looking lush. But first, a little background and a few before & afters... read more
Lawn Gone!  Book Party, Review and Giveaways
To celebrate the release of Pam Penick's new book, Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard, you’re all invited to attend her Lawn Gone Book Party – with some very cool party prizes! Six garden blogging friends and I are hosting 7 great giveaways this week, all related to the theme of – drumroll please – lawn alternatives. Lawn Gone! is, of course, about alternatives to the traditional lawn: all kinds of ground-covering plants, functional and appropriately scaled hardscape, and fun features to draw you outside.  If any of you are re-thinking your lawn, you will appreciate this book not read more
One thing I've noticed about many areas of Los Angeles is that if someone is lucky enough to have a garden at all, quite often it's located in front of the house.  The houses either back up into the surrounding hillsides, or are on super tiny lots with neighboring houses crowding them on all sides. The front is sometimes the only place to find space and/or sunshine for a garden. One of my very favorite surprises is a garden located on a corner of a very busy street, with cars and buses whizzing by at all hours. I couldn't read more
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Baylor Chapman, at her gorgeous floral studio Lila B. Design.  While I've written about her shop before (you can read it here), this time I'm writing about the building across the street.  Yep, it's the giant green one which you can see out of her storefront window. The building is called The Allied Box Factory, and Baylor just so happens to live there. It's one of the great old timber buildings of San Francisco, that's been converted into an artists live-work space. Originally built in 1907 as the Allied Box & read more
If you're familiar with my blog, then you know I love grasses.  And luckily they're becoming more and more common in most every nursery, with many selections to choose from.   Yes, grasses are all the rage and for good reason. Why?  Generally speaking, grasses will grow in just about any type of soil, most are drought tolerant and diseases and pests aren't usually an issue.   (more…) read more
Let me state up front that I'm not a hater when it comes to lawns.  There, I've said it. If you have a lawn and you or your kids actually use it, then it's okay in my book.  Especially if you don't have unrealistic expectations that you need to saturate your garden with chemicals to keep your lawn weed free and in tip-top shape at all times. However, in California's Mediterranean climate where water is such a precious commodity, planting a lawn where it'll never be truly enjoyed just doesn't make sense.  Why waste valuable water and energy when you read more
As a garden designer, I've noticed a growing trend over the past few years: more and more people are wanting to replace their unused, water chugging, labor intensive front lawn with a beautiful low-water, low-maintenance garden. These days it seems no-lawn gardens make up about 75% of my business.  The remaining 25% are people who'd like to remove their front lawn but aren't quite sure what to do once it's gone. I hear variations of the same concerns:  it'll look too much like a desert, it won't be lush, it'll be too sparse and it won't have enough color. Therefore, read more
Today I'm participating in a massive, worldwide blogging event called Blog Action Day, where the topic we'll all write about is Water. As any California gardener knows, water is our most precious resource.  In this post, I'm going to share a few tips to help you create a lawn-and-chemical-free meadow garden teeming with life, color, scent and natural beauty.   And the best part about meadows?  If the correct plants are chosen, they're very drought tolerant, requiring very little water outside of our normal rainfall. Earlier this year I stumbled upon a breath-taking natural meadow at Lake Tahoe.  I couldn't believe read more
If you MUST have a lawn, here's some ideas on how to reduce the impact it has on the environment while still providing you an area to play croquet.... read more