Thursday, April 30, 2009

Garden: Be green and lose the lawn

We live in an apartment. It's a really great apartment but we don't have a yard. Someday, if we own a house, we'd like it to have a yard. Most people think that a yard means grass. Must. Have. A. Lawn. My question is WHY?



I remember my Dad doing battle with 'THE LAWN' for years. Mowing, edging, fertilizing, moss and weed control, watering...in short, a lot of maintenance. He said more than once if he had it to do over, he'd remove all the grass and create a simple landscape with rock, stone and low-care grasses.

The more I read about eco-friendly alternatives to the American tradition of the lush, green lawn, the more I am excited about those other possibilities and I believe that my Dad was ahead of his time with his landscape ideas.


Water-conserving gardens can be as colorful as any other. The front yard of Rick Cole, Ventura's city manager, is blooming proof. How pretty is that?!



Flagstone paths curve through a low-water front yard. A low berm of soil on either side of the walk adds interest, and weed cloth topped with permeable pea gravel allows excess water to soak into the earth rather than run off into the street.


Lawns need an inch of water each week during the growing season. Seattle-based landscape designer Stacie Crooks of Crooks Garden Design, knew she could create a beautiful tapestry of plants that would survive on half the water. She removed most of her lawn and planted a mix of perennials and shrubs.



Plant natives, and birds will follow. Designer and contractor Greg Rubin ― who specializes in California natives ― removed this lawn and created a curving path bordered by fragrant 'Bee's Bliss' salvia, wild lilacs, and an existing non-native purple tree mallow ― all are pretty, low-water plants.


Landscape designer Shirley Watts is on a mission to green up her gardens. Instead of packing them with foliage she found green solutions that benefit the environment by preserving resources and by recycling materials.


Style and practicality determined the design of this water-conserving garden in Clovis, California. In many areas of the West, water is a precious and limited commodity requiring careful management.



1. Do you have a lawn? Do you love it?
2. How do you deal with your lawn in a drought?
3. If you don’t have a lawn, what do you have instead?

Find more inspiring eco-yard photos, tips and ideas HERE.

5 comments:

Char said...

I have a lawn for the first time since my move. haven't had to deal with drought yet, but summer is coming.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Love those garden photos! I do not have a lawn per se, but instead care for the natural flora of Colorado foothills. I do like to add native species and do a bit of rearranging but mostly it is just natural.

Pfeiffer Photos said...

char: hopefully no drought this year. :)

julie: that's such a great alternative to having a yard or a lawn!

Sam said...

Tina these are much prettier than a lawn. The new varieties of long ornamental grasses available now are so attractive and they look so lovely when they are put together! I'm with you - lawns are more trouble than they're worth apart from anything else!

Pfeiffer Photos said...

sam: Yay! Glad you liked them and thanks for the nice comments!

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