Colorful California Landscape: A Water-Friendly Garden
Colorful California Landscape:  A Water-Friendly Garden

Garden Tour

Below are photos of our front yard one year after the remodel. Individual plants are described in detail in the Foliage List section.  Revegetation of our landscape was accomplished through a mixture of native and drought-tolerant plants.  As part of the installation, soil preparation was employed to restore the soil ecology.  Boulders were harvested locally and installed as a decorative feature.

Fuzzy Kangaroo Paws (above) provide a playful, color and textured palate to the yard.  It is the first plant people ask about when they stop by our home.  Because these are the dwarf variety, they are referred to as "Joeys".  They get to be about 2 feet high.  The regular varieties can get up to 5 feet high.  Dymondia ground cover and dark, reddish-brown Dwarf New Zealand Flax anchor the scenery.  In the back are purple-flowered Penstemon, Horsetail and Jasmine.

Just outside the front door is a flagstone circle with Woolly Thyme growing amongst the rocks.  Around the edge, Sea Pinks provide a carpet of color and Dymondia serves as the ground cover.  The pots on the right contain Pink Geraniums and a Bearded Iris.  The pot on the left contains a Red Hot Poker.  The birdbath fountain is solar powered.  We were surprised that instead of being afraid of the moving water, the birds actually seem to enjoy taking a shower!

Creeping Rosemary, Kangaroo Paws, Horsestail (we have since replaced the Horsetail with Small Cape Rush due to its invasiveness), Sea Pinks, Penstamon, Dymondia and Dwarf New Zealand Flax line the dry river rock bed.  Rain water from the roof is diverted via gutters into the rocks under which are buried three, 60-gallon CUDO cubes.  These detain up to 180 gallons of water which is slowly released into the soil rather than as runoff into street gutters.

A the top of the berm stands a young but colorful Marina Strawberry Tree, a focal point of the garden.  At its base are Pacific Coast Irises and delicately flowered Hybrid Coral Bells.  The vertical tree contrasts with the flat roundness of the flagstone circle which creates a yin-yang dynamic.

At the base of the oak tree and below the Pacific Coast irises are planted Emerald Carpet Manzanita, Creeping Rosemary and Blue Fescue.  Boulders from Malibu provide true California authenticity.  The Manzanita grows very slowly; after one year, there is still patches of bare dirt.  We could not get the Manzanita to thrive, so we eventually replaced it with dymondia.

On the side of the walkway which leads up to the house is a a striking Red Yucca (another plant we are frequently asked about.)  Kangaroo Paws, Lavender and Blue Fescue provide a rainbow of colors.

Print Print | Sitemap
Stewardship requires the recognition that we are all caretakers of the environment and economy for the benefit of present and future generations. We must balance the impacts of today's decisions with the needs of future generations. - The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development (1998)