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Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

Posted by kendog2 (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 20, 09 at 14:40

I submitted this question in the Gardening with Stone forum. I haven't received a response yet so I thought I would try submitting it here too. Sorry for being impatient but my husand is in a hurry to finish it.

I would like advice on installing walkways using broken concrete. We live in the high desert of southern California. We will be seeding a Kentucky Bluegrass lawn and need to put in walkways in the traffic areas. We would like grass to grow between the pieces of concrete as seen in this photo.

Concrete Grass Walkway

Our yard has been roto-tilled and my husband cut some pathways to see how the walkways would look. This is how it looks right now.

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The walkway that comes across the middle of the yard is only two stones wide. I think it should be wider to make it less likely that people (kids) will walk on the grass. I also wonder if it should be a little straighter. My husband thinks that the area is too small for a wider walkway. He says it would look odd.

For the walkway across the back of the house, I would prefer to leave at least a foot of space between the house and the walkway for plants. I think it would be difficult to mow and trim the grass if it grew right up to the house. It also seems to me that it would look better to have plants between the stucco and the concrete walkway. We would really appreciate some opinions on the best design for this project as neither my husband nor I have much landscaping experience. (We need to make some quick decisions as we are running out of time to seed this lawn before cold weather sets in.)

Our soil is sandy clay. Do we need to set the concrete pieces in sand or will the dirt suffice? Would it be appropriate to set the concrete about "above the ground? Our goal is to be able to walk across the walkway without stumbling while leaving enough space for the grass to grow between the pieces of concrete without being trampled. We would be grateful to anyone who can offer insight. Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I'm new here so I put that forth before saying anything else. I just worked on a very similar project with fieldstone so I thought I could at least share my own experiences.

We had an existing brick walkway over sand. So we didn't add any sand and used topsoil to fill in between the stones. Everything I've read says the sand is important for drainage, so you may want to consider adding some. I'm not sure if your soil would suffice.

I think the walkway across the lawn should definitely be wider. The part against the house looks to be about 3 or 4 stones wide, and I think that would be both functional and appropriate for the size of your yard. JMO.

I'll be planting mother of thyme groundcover between my stones, so I can't help you on the grass.

One foot of space against the house doesn't seem like very much for planting, but I'm sure you'll get more experienced responses to this. I'm also not sure what you mean about setting the concrete 3/4" above the ground. You'll want the walkway to be as level as possible with the grass, so you will want to dig in and place each piece so that it's set into the dirt as much as possible. This is a TEDIOUS and PAINSTAKING process. If you have any sort of slope you have to take that into account. And I like the curved look versus straight, but that's just my preference. It took me 3 tries to do the very short front walk I'm posting a pic of below and it still needs some grading work on one side.

I went from a straight right-angled brick walk to a curving fieldstone path on a decent slope. This was not an easy project and it's not done yet.

I hope some of this info was helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front Walkway Pics


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

My 2p:

Having the walkway up tight against the wall of the house looks odd to me. If you're sure you don't want to plant anything against the house, and that really is where you want it, I think it should be at least another stone's width wider. As it is now, it makes me feel that elbows could get scraped on the stucco.

I second umpqua that the stones should definitely be set level with grade. Above grade and you'll be setting people up for falls & stubbed toes.

The path across the lawn? I think it looks okay, but you know your kids better than we do. If they'll be riding bikes on it you might want to straighten it out.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

Thank you both so much for replying. Thank you for sharing the photo of your walkway, Umpqua. It is beautiful. I would like to see it when it's finished.

We did make the pathway across the lawn wider. In my opinion it looks much better now. If felt the same way, Treelover, about having the pathway against the house. My husband moved it barely a foot away from the house but I do want to put plants there so I think we need to move it further out. The problem is that we'll have to move a sprinkler to do it (we, meaning my husband.) He wants to get this done as quickly as possible. The perfectionist wife is a thorn in his side right now. How much space should we leave for plants? I don't want huge plants but plants do grow and I don't want them to crowd onto the walkway.

I didn't realize that the stones would need to be set at ground level but that makes sense. I thought we would have to allow space for the grass so it wouldn't get worn down but it would probably cause stubbed toes that way.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 21, 09 at 10:55

I would suggest that you leave at least 2.5 to 3 feet between house and walk for plantings, but I also think it gives it a clean look to do a walk right at the wall, and if this area isn't a major view from elsewhere in the garden, keeping it clean and simple can also work. The walk at across the lawn should definitely be wider, and I would also suggest that you leave at least 4 to 5 inches between individual pieces of concrete for the grass. Personally I don't like using grass between such a walk, because things like tall fescue will grow over the edges and quickly make the walk seem more grass than walk, unless you edge it, which takes a lot of work. I've usually used slower growing ground covers between such pavers instead, such as Dymondia margaratae, which gives a cleaner look. You might also consider using gravel between the stones to reduce maintenance. Setting the stones about .5 to.75 inches above the bare dirt is not a bad thing, it will usually insure that they don't stay wet or muddy.

I don't think most people stop to think that growing grass between narrowly spaced pavers will almost disappear if you don't work at keeping the grass trimmed with a string line trimmer, which is a lot of extra time to do. For this reason, I prefer to use larger sizes of broken concrete as pathway, so that I don't have to trim the grass as frequently to still see the concrete over time. Trampling the grass due to wider spacing is really not an issue. You can set the concrete pavers directly on soil if it is sandy enough to level easily, and doesn't have so much clay in it that it tends to crack or heave and fall with differences in water content.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

Thank you Bahia, for your suggestions. We are also questioning whether grass is the best thing to grow between the stones. We don't like tall fescue although it is reccommended for our area. Our lawn will be Kentucky Blue Grass. Because it is hot and dry here in the summer, I am concerned that the grass between the stones will die. I hadn't thought about the possibility that it might grow over the stones. Do you think KBG would do that since it is loweer growing than tall fescue?

We had considered using Rupture Wort between the stones but at $16 a flat, it would be too expensive. I don't know if Dymondia Margaratae would grow in our area but I imagine the cost would be similar. (We live in the high desert of Southern California.) Gravel might be a good idea. I just thought it might be difficult to keep the gravel from getting into the grass and to keep weeds from growing in the gravel.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

In the thread linked below I include a photo of our grass between pavers and make a comment about it - the gaps are too wide, too low, and we frequently turn our ankles. Some of that is relevant to other ground covers too. But if the gaps are narrow, perhaps keeping the dirt level low would keep the grass from growing over the stones. At least for a while.

But I think if I were doing what you are doing, I would try keeping the gaps narrow and use sand, as we've done on a flagstone path we have (or stone dust? I've never worked with it). You can plant ground cover plugs in the sand, roots will grow down to find dirt, and eventually things will spread but fewer weeds will seed in. You don't need to buy too much ground cover if you don't mind waiting for it to reproduce.

The thread linked below may also be helpful in planning what to do along the house. There is nothing wrong with making the bed narrow, but if you do, one option is just to use ground cover, with any more elaborate planting done elsewhere (eg on the other side of the path). Just be aware that gardening in a narrow bed along a wall is challenging if you want to keep the path open at shoulder height for walking. That's exactly where any tall plants will have their volume, and they will lean out from the wall.

KarinL

Here is a link that might be useful: narrow bed, grass between pavers


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I live in the San Fernando Valley. If you are in Palmdale or out in the desert have you seen a Kentucky Bluegrass lawn??? In the heat of summer I have hard time keeping it going so I end up putting shadecloth over that part of yard & watering extra. Was no problem until tree died & it lost it's shade. I don't know how it handles the cold . I'm in protected area with blockwall around my backyard. Orange tree still has to be covered with sheets or oranges have been freezing last few yrs. Orange tree is right by the Ky bluessgrass & it does OK but if you are out further not sure bluegrass would even survive. Talk to knowledgeable nurseryman. Just because store sells something doesn't mean it will grow. I don't know what to tell you about concrete pieces. I know on a blvd that removing sod & putting in seed it takes couple of yrs before it is level with sidewalk. Moving the pieces out away from house was good as weedeater would "eat" your stucco & make a mess of your house. Curves are fine, kids can turn the bike sightly & do just fine. No sand between or under concrete as I don't think bluegrass will grow in it. So you will need couple or nice shade trees to protect your bluegrass in summer, mine was an apricot pit my dad planted, it was big tree but was problem as it was too close to wall, had to trim on neighbor's side, got diseased & had to go. Got borers in trunk while I was busy with getting mom well. Ky Blue is not real kid friendly either. It was area that we always put down blanket & had babies play on as it is beautiful, it was where I always had picnic table & we had BarBQ's & would be little "crushed" but OK by next morning. So that is what I know about bluegrass having about 1/4 of my yard bluegrass. Rest has been overtaken by whatever was on bottom of tent I set up to clean after Tenn. vacation. Nasty spreading deep-rooted stuff I can't get rid of!!Oh, my DS in So. Dak. did plant Ky Bluegrass in his yard there so it can take cold unless it is a different strain!!! His is beautiful & it gets very cold there. Good Luck! My soil is black dirt with sandy soil about 15 in. down.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

The paths don't look quite right. They need to be wider. The walkway shouldn't be smack up against the house. It should be at least 2 feet away from it.

Are you sure you want to be mowing the grass between those stones? If it were me, I'd lay landscape fabric underneath the concrete and plant a low groundcover between them; Corsican mint is one of my favorites; creeping thyme is always nice, too.

Rain2Fall


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 21, 09 at 16:41

the other posters are correct about the KBG not being a great choice for a lawn grass in the desert, low or high. I would suspect that one of the hybrid bermuda grasses is a better choice, but they still are not really low water use, but they do handle the heat better, while also going dormant in winter(brown). They can be overseeded with Winter Rye grass for green color in winter, as they do on golf courses. Dymondia is an excellent choice for desert conditions, but may not be completely hardy if you drop below 25F in winter, and depending on where you are, it might/might not work. Ask at your local nursery if this one is a good species for your area, I can definitely say that things like Corsican Mint are not a good choice for deserts, they need too much water and prefer shade.

A good point about the gravel getting kicked into the grass, so it would make more sense to use decomposed granite over weed fabric as the area between pavers, you will still want this at least a half inch below the concrete so that it stays clean and not gritty over the concrete, and it is also better for drainage.

I would rethink the amount of lawn and the choice of lawn grass for high desert conditions, your water bill is going to be really high if you have a large lawn. If Dymondia is hardy in your area, it can also be used as a lawn substitute, and is much lower water use and handles extreme heat and drought well, as do so many South African origin plants. It will fill in pretty fast planted out from cell packs at one foot centers, if given a reasonably fertile soil, fertilized and watered to get it established, and can handle light foot traffic and occasional kid's play without problems.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

By the way, the job your husband did shaping the original layout is beautiful. I hope he can retain its flair as he makes it just a tad more practical.

Would it work to move the path entirely to the other side of the sprinkler, making the bed at the wall really wide and having the sidewalk swing out a little? Be aware that even if the bed is wider, the plants will lean out if you plant tall things. I'd plan to keep plantings low. The wall is really attractive enough with those two windows, especially if you were to paint contrasting window frames or something. I might plan to put something larger right where the path meets the driveway to minimize the degree to which one notices that the windows aren't centred. Maybe make the bed widest there, and plan for a pencil-type evergreen, which will grow straighter than something deciduous.

KarinL


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

We live in Oak Hills which is part of Hesperia. It does get hot here but not as hot as some areas of the desert. We are at about 3800 feet so it can also get cold. Average summer temperature is in the 90's. In December the average high is 60 and low is 30 degrees.

A lot of people have questioned why we want to plant KBG. My brother-in-law has Kentucky Blue Grass. It looks great. The local nursery told me that they have seeded KBG but they usually use a mix that contains fine fescue and perennial rye. I saw one of the lawns that they planted. It was beautiful. We have 2 1/2 acres of dirt and juniper trees. I am from British Columbia where everything is green. I need a spot of green in the back yard. I hope this works.

We will probably have to wait until spring to seed the Kentucky Blue Grass because it is getting too late to plant now. Would it be a good idea to plant annual rye now? If we do that, would we have to dig it up in the spring to make room for the KBG or can we just overseed with Kentucky Blue Grass? Would it be better to plant the annual rye with the KBG now?

I haven't seen Dymondia but I may check to find out if it grows here. Has anyone tried Rupture Wort as ground cover?

Karin, I guess we could put the pathway on the other side of the sprinkler. I don't think I want the bed that wide though. I am leaning toward making it about 2 feet. I like your idea for the evergeen. It would have to be one that stays fairly short so it doesn't grow into the eaves of the house. I hadn't thought of painting the window frames a different color. That might be interesting. We need to paint all of the stucco as you can see.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I've laid a few broken concrete pathways in my time :-) It is actually one of my preferred materials for this purpose -- usually free, great way to recycle what is often an unwanted material, nice look.

I would add a couple of thoughts to the previous remarks: I agree that the path bisecting the future lawn is far too narrow. I would widen it to at least 3.5 feet. And if you intend to grow a turf grass in between, you need to be very particular regarding the height of the pavers. If not placed at the correct height, mowing is a PITA and damage to the mower blades virtually a given. Ideally, sod or sow the lawn first, then cut the pavers into the lawn even with or slightly below the surface.

If you choose a groundcover to plant in between the pavers, I'd consider some sort of edging material defining the pathway, otherwise the turf will grow into the groundcover or vice versa and you will just be creating maintenance headaches. I like rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) and have used it frequently in designs for clients. If you can, get a grower's (solid) flat rather than individual pots - you can cut out small portions to space between the pavers. They will spread quickly to fill in. If not, cut the pots into 4-6 sections and follow the same process. A single, $16 flat goes a long way! A creeping thyme would work also but given the amount of watering necessary to keep the lawn happy, the thyme may be not quite so appreciative as the rupturewort.

FWIW, I would never place a walkway - and a very narrow one at that - immediately adjacent to a structure. It is very awkward and the mass of the structure becomes intimidating. You'll find yourself tiptoeing along it, if it gets used at all. 2' is the bare minimum for any kind of planting bed and even that will greatly restrict what can be grown there. If at all possible, opt for a greater depth.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 24, 09 at 12:40

Ordinarily I would find myself in agreement with almost anything Gardengal would recommend, but not in this case. Setting concrete stones at or slightly below the level of existing grass is going to result in constant dirt washing onto the soil with a sandy soil mix, and in a high desert with the constant need for irrigation for a lawn, it will also tend to wash the dirt onto pavers. I personally wouldn't want all that lawn in a climate where it will increase your water bills so tremendously, but recommended mowing heights for a Tall Fescue/Blue Grass lawn mix will be 3 inches, so having it slightly raised about 1/2 to 3/4 inches isn't going to create problems for the lawn mower. Don't forget that when rain does tend to come, as infrequent as it is, it can be the season total all at once, again likely to wash soil onto surfaces that are set too low.

As to a pathway set right up against the house, it is a more common design detail in contemporary as well as spanish influenced designs, and can be a classic Spanish/Californian design detail. A desert garden doesn't lend itself to the PNW garden style with tons of foundation plantings; more widely spaced plantings and more sculptural plants placed in a more architectural or natural to the desert way seems more sympathetic to the surroundings to me.

I can understand the desire to have a large green lawn in the high desert, especially if you are used to British Columbia conditions, but it is not practical in the long run, and lawn substitutes make more sense. I guess you will have to suffer through ever increasing water bills and constant battles to keep the lawn alive and looking good to understand the potential wisdom of working with your climate instead of against it. A Kentucky Blue Grass lawn doesn't even make much sense here in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they tend to want to go dormant in the summer heat and take much more water and care to keep looking decent than other lawn grasses.

I'd suggest that you look into real water miser grasses such as Buffalo Grass for the high desert. Admittedly it will go winter dormant in your area, but it fills in quite quickly with desert heat, and needs hardly any water in comparison to cool season turf grasses such as Tall Fescue or KBG.

If your area has a good low water demonstration garden to visit, I'd recommend a visit. Most California Water Districts do have such a display garden to show the merits of plantings that take less water and care. There is a very nice Display garden in Las Vegas, which isn't exactly close, but is similar in climate to your conditions, and illustrates the wealth of plants that actually make sense in your climate.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

David, I will gladly bow to your greater experience with these matters in that climate but once a lawn is established, I've never encountered any washing of soil over the pavers - that's a new one for me :-) The lawn creeping over, yes - soil, no. But I do wholeheartedly support your advice concerning the lawn as a whole.....given the comments raised on a previous thread, I was reluctant to go there but I'm glad you did. It too would not be my first choice to 'finish off' that large an area in that arid a climate.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

Thank you for your suggestions, Gardengal and Bahia. I must admit that I feel a little guilty about putting in lawn when there is so much talk of the importance of water-conservation. Originally, we had planned to have grass in our front yard as well. We have scrapped the idea in favor of putting in rock and a few drought-tolerant plants in the front.

I really want grass in the back because that is where we hang out with friends and family. I don't want to look at a sea of rock there. I wasn't aware that Kentucky Blue Grass would tend to go dormant in summer. I looked up some photos of Buffalo grass. It doesn't look bad. Does the Las Vegas display garden have Buffalo grass? Can it be over-seeded with annual winter rye to keep it green in the winter?

It is probably too late to plant KBG now. We have been considering planting annual winter rye. That would buy us some time to research what to do for a permanent lawn before spring comes. If we go with Buffalo grass, would we have to till in the rye grass first? How short can Buffalo grass be mowed? It sounds like Kentucky Blue Grass would be hard to keep perfect in this climate. I want a perfect, beautiful lawn. Would this be easier to attain with the Buffalo grass?


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 24, 09 at 18:26

I'd suggest you do a google search on the UC Verde cultivar of Buffalo Grass, try "Buffalo Grass in California" for your search. That should give you more information on best methods to get this planted and how to maintain it, as well as support my assertion that it uses much less water. Overseeding of a Buffalo Grass lawn is not recommended, so you might be better served trying to water and weed to eliminate residual weeds in your lawn area before planting this from sod or plugs next spring.

I am willing to bet that you will be able to see a local example of a Buffalo Grass installation, perhaps give a call to a local dealer of turf grasses/sod. I would also be pretty sure that your local Water District's Drought Display Garden would have this, as well as the one in Las Vegas.

You will probably be well served by visiting the garden in Las Vegas, as it is also a Sunset zone 11 desert climate, and anything you see there would also do well for you. Get yourself a copy of the Sunset Western Garden book as a reference for your gardening needs as well, it will save you a lot of headaches if you stick with plantings hardy to your zone. From memory of past projects I have done in Las Vegas, you might want to consider using less lawn, and more ground covers such as Baccharis 'Centennial' or Dalea greggii, along with ornamental grasses such as Muhlenbergia species. Check out the web site for Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Arizona for more great desert appropriate plants that would give you green as well as color yet stand up to your heat, drought and winds.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I'm so glad you are considering putting in something different than the water guzzling kentucky bluegrass there in the desert. We have lived in las vegas for twenty years but lived in hesperia before that and even then before the drought the most common landscaping there was desert with a lot of the lovely native joshua trees front and center.

We have, sort of, the uc verde buffalo grass that bahia mentioned. I say sort of because it was a whim to see what it was like and after growing a small patch of it we decided against any lawn because of the difficult water situation. We do still have a clump of it that we left around a yucca. It is very fine textured, doesn't get very tall so we never even mowed ours, spreads so it will self repair although it isn't nearly the spreading nuisance of bermuda and is very drought tolerant.

The remaining patch we have gets watered once a week during the worst blazing heat of summer and doesn't mind that. I will say it is not the bright green of some other grasses. It is greener with more water and more of a gray green with less water and it does go dormant in the winter so it would be tan for a few months.

I hope you will give it a chance and maybe use some other ground covers in places too we also have the beautiful dalea greggi, very green myoporum - don't know if that would be hardy for you though- and taller but always good looking and quite wide spreading acacia redolens. Also another dalea that is wonderful in our desert yard is dalea capitata sown in pic below.

Maria
dalea capitata


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I won't get involved in the grass discussion as I can't tell one grass from another, but will quibble on the issue of path width.

I think appropriate width depends on what the path is to be used for, and by whom, and what will be next to it. I have a flagstone path that is only a foot wide at its narrowest point, and for the purpose it serves, getting to the bistro set with my coffee, it works just fine. Or at least it did, until I planted a delphinium right beside it and it began thriving, and now I have to step off the path to get around the darn plant.

A front walk needs to address the likelihood that you will be assisting your aging papa to the door for a visit. A back path to the composter needs only to accommodate you, or more specifically, your feet and your shoulders. As long as you've got enough airspace for your shoulders, as you do if the path has nothing but grass (or equivalent) on either side, your feet really don't need much room. That is why I think a narrow path through the open yard is fine, but the same width along the house is inadequate. (An option I didn't mention earlier is leaving the path right at the wall, but making it wide enough so you have room for shoulders. This would spare the torture of trying to plant up a narrow bed).

One other thing about broken concrete: small pieces are not necessarily a good thing. I think the boundary of usefulness is they have to be wider than they are thick.

KarinL


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

I'm going to add a monkeywrench--although touched on by bahia's post-- by suggesting you are mixing apples and oranges in your layout and plans.

You have a lot of path, made up of a lot of relatively small stones, but not set up as a mortared path or even a dry-laid path, so you are depending on vegetation between the stones to make the path work, but it's a lot of narrow spaces. The photo you used is a photo of an ideal (or ideally realized) stone patio or path with a specific low-growing groundcover and is not the design used for turf interspaces, usually, due to the issues noted by bahia.

For grass to intermingle with a pathway, you would use fewer but larger flagstones with largish spaces between. Then you do have to pay attention to the final or anticipated "level" of the main lawn and how the stones are set in the pathway. Different heights (or depths) create different mowing requirements and pros/cons.

For groundcover which is not to be mowed, you need a good steppable low groundcover (or a mixture of a few species can work) planted (or nurtured) to completely cover the spaces. What happens if you don't is soil washout and weed growth. So, it takes a lot of plugs to do a lot of path.Maybe you don't have much trouble with invasive weeds where you are--if not--if is a climate thing aided by drought and/or limited contamination from surrounding vegetation, birds, etc--then you may have more leeway in leaving some areas as just sand filler that stays neat looking. But with that, you usually would need to demarcate the path from the lawn with some kind of edging.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 27, 09 at 14:32

Maria,
Thanks for chiming in about your approaches to gardening in the desert, obviously based on some practical experience working these things out for yourself. I had never seen that Dalea capitata before, and am more used to thinking of these as blues and purples when in bloom contrasted against those soft gray greens of the billowing foliage.

I would really enjoy doing my garden designs in desert climates, but so many of the things that do well there, simply can't handle the additional rains and chilly wet days of our winters here. I've never seen anyone successfully grow Dalea species for example, and Ocotillo is out of the question. On the other hand, many of the Opuntias, other cactus, Agaves, Hesperaloes, can thrive here, and with good attention to drainage, make beautiful guaranteed "no water" gardens here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The natural Joshua Trees in combination with Creosote and Junipers that is the predominant vegetation of the desert area of the OP, is probably little appreciated by the newer residents moving in to the ever expanding subdivisions out there, but they do have a special beauty that can't really be replicated anywhere else. Just the way that plants space themselves in such an arid environment is interesting to observe, and I have special memories of a trip botanizing while in a summer high school botany class to Joshua Tree National Monument, and being exposed to desert pools and desert ferns and of course, Joshua trees.

On the other hand, it is a pretty brutal environment to garden in, and a casual approach to gardening there doesn't usually last. There probably aren't all that many visible landscape designers/architects working in that area to demonstrate examples of good garden designs that work with the native plants and climate, and instead, most of us are preprogrammed to want to create a desert oasis of watered green. Nothing wrong with that on a limited basis in a protected courtyard situation, but trying to irrigate an entire property for lawn grasses, and multiply that by the thousands of new residents moving in, isn't sustainable with our limited water resources in the state.


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RE: Need Help with Broken Concrete Walkway Design

Thank you Karin and Frankie for pointing out the problems with using the smaller stones with grass. I wondered if the grass would do well that way. I will post an updated photo a soon as I can. The path across the lawn is wider now and the one next to the house is curved and has a little room for some small plants. It isn't much so I'm not sure which plants would stay small enough for that space. My husband didn't think the path would join well to the one across the yard if he put it too far from the house. He thanks you, Karin, for complimenting his design. He didn't put cloth under the concrete. He filled in the paths with dirt. We are in a rush to plant annual rye so we can get the yard green before it gets too cold.

I guess we could change the paths in the spring if the grass doesn't do well between the stones. Maybe by then we will come across some larger pieces of concrete too.

Thank you for the plant photo, Maria. I also appreciate your and Bahia's encouragement to grow plants suited to the desert. Most people here don't bother with landscaping at all. Without plants or trees, a house doesn't look like a home to me.


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