Return to the Landscape Design Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Posted by sooz z9/So Cal (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 20:27

Hi, everyone!

This is the little ranch-style house we have that is now rented out. The tenants are not interested at all in caring for the outside of the place and watering, although they do keep the inside neat and clean. The lawn has since all died out.

We're in So Cal and would like to re-do the front yard so this wouldn't be the most unattractive place on the block, yet be we'd like it pretty, water-wise and easy care for us.

Putting in a dry creek bed of rocks wouldn't fit with the neighborhood, nor would a front yard of gravel interspersed with rocks, boulders, or plants placed willy-nilly. Artificial turf looks too...well, artificial. We'd like to avoid having it look like a desert landscape.

We go over there to water about every 7 to 12 days. The europys daisies in front of the one window have all been taken out and not replaced with anything. The plant off to the far right is hardy rosemary.

Any help, ideas, or suggestions are welcome!

Thanks!!!

Smiles,
Sooz


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

  • Posted by sooz z9/So Cal (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 20:28

Here is another photo. The front yard does NOT have a sidewalk in front of it.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar sponsored a "California friendly" landscape contest a few years ago that focused on low-water use, low maintenance but very attractive landscape designs. I understand the contest is still ongoing with participation encouraged by various water districts. The point of this is that there are photo galleries of winning landscapes that address the exact needs you express. Very much worth reviewing to get inspiration.

FWIW, I would not necessarily be overly quick to dismiss either the dry streambed, artificial turf or a rock/drought tolerant plants approach as being out of character with the neighborhood or looking too artificial. It depends on the quality of the design and its relationship to the house and vicinity. And I've seen some artificial lawns that you would have to get down on your hands and knees to inspect to determine they were not real..

Roger's Gardens

Here is a link that might be useful: California friendly landscapes


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

I have no comment on landscaping but I assure you there are low water-need plants which will not remind you of the desert, even ferns. One of my favorites is Myrsine Africana. It would not suit your need but it is an example of a plant looking lush yet drought tolerant.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 21:40

Chances are you're going to end up with a worse mess than you started with. There truly are few options lower-maintenance than lawn. No planting of low-water use shrubs is going to look good without someone doing regular cleanup.

If this were my rental, I would get irrigation installed for the front, put in some less-thirsty breed of grass, and raise the rent enough to cover the cost of a mow-blow-go bi-monthly lawn service. Keep it simple.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

I don't have a lot to add as far as the yard; lawn is pretty basic care and mow & blow crews won't wreck it.

But I wanted to comment on the links to the Roger's Gardens CA landscapes: thank you for sharing these!!!


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

  • Posted by sooz z9/So Cal (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 3:49

Thank you everyone!!!! Great advice, ideas, and suggestions!

Smiles,
Sooz


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

I've really enjoyed looking at those gardens gardengal48. Do you know what that really flat groundcover is that are in a lot of the photos?


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Yeah, it's always good to realize that one can have a very lush and colorful garden yet still be very xeric and low maintenance. KInda inspiring, no?

Can't see the groundcover all that clearly but I'd suspect it was either dymondia or wooly thyme - both are very drought tolerant, although dymondia is not hardy across much of the country.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 13:48

Marti, Dymondia margaratae is the flat gray green ground cover, and it can make an excellent walk-on lawn substitute. Works best IMO if installed with automatic irrigation, but needs much less irrigation than any type of lawn grass commonly used here in California. With Dymondia, initial weed prep is critical, because dealing with Bermuda grass or Oxalis pes-capre is a real pain if it isn't eliminated initially or grubbed out as an invader.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Before you get carried away Marti, dymondia is only hardy to about 25-30F. Doubt it will make it long-term in the DFW area. Woolley thyme would be a decent substitute however and a lot more drought tolerant.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Maybe consider adding some ornamental grasses (Mexican feather grass, e.g.) and one or two eye-catching drought tolerant plants (Protea Banksia, e.g.) to liven up the space a little...


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

thanks for the suggestion of the ornamental grasses (Mexican feather grass) ... that I will try in my yard too!!


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

You could make a front courtyard for entertaining with pavers that fit your budget. Imagine a bistro set or a couple of adirondack chairs in the middle. then have a border on the front and side that includes the mexican feather grass.


 o
RE: Oh goodness! What to do with this yard!??

Agree with Lili777. Some kind of paved courtyard made private with screening; panels of some kind of fencing perhaps topped off with hogwire and climbing vines...and/or border of xeriscaping plants. Lots of Mediterranean, Australian, so. African plants to choose from.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Landscape Design Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here