Magazine article Sunset

Now's the Time to Lose the Lawn: Three Striking Alternative to That Thirsty Carpet of Grass

Magazine article Sunset

Now's the Time to Lose the Lawn: Three Striking Alternative to That Thirsty Carpet of Grass

Article excerpt

1.Replace it with a garden

Shrubs and trees require less water than lawns, and they're far easier to maintain. Start by putting down a sturdy path, as Kristan and Ben Sias did in their garden in Portland using slabs of basalt. Then tuck shrubs on either side for seasonal interest--blue hydrangeas for summer bloom, Fothergilla for orange fall foliage, and a redtwig dogwood for winter color. Add a few conifers for all-year greenery; the Siases chose Cedrus deodara 'Silver Mist' (left of the path) and Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil' (opposite). Finish with a sprinkling of perennials and shrubs among the pavers--such as the plum coral bells and mounding green Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherlandii' that are pictured--and an ornamental grass such as the Stipa gigantea.

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DESIGN Darcy Daniels, Bloomtown Garden Design & Nursery, Portland (bloomtown.net or 503/331-1783)

2. Replace it with a patio

Southwest homeowners are like snowbirds in reverse. They move around their property as the day progresses to keep out of the sun. Install a small grove of shade trees in your front yard, plus a bit of hardscape, and you'll have a new cool spot for breakfast coffee or neighborly chats. Phoenix homeowners Farryl and Bill Wildman did just that and now spend their time chilling on the patio. Palo brea trees provide the shade, candelilla (native Southwest euphorbia) dot the grid of black pea gravel, and Indian fig (Opuntia) punctuates the decomposed granite. …

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