Magazine article Sunset

Front Yard Facelifts: Still Have a Water-Guzzling Lawn? These Gardens Prove You Can Have Splendor without the Grass

Magazine article Sunset

Front Yard Facelifts: Still Have a Water-Guzzling Lawn? These Gardens Prove You Can Have Splendor without the Grass

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE ZEN RETREAT

For years, Jody and Michael Stauffer's front yard in Palo Alto, California, was so unremarkable, they occasionally drove past their own home. The couple asked landscape designer Chris Jacobson of GardenArt Group (gardenartgroup.com) to tear out their mossy grass and privacy hedge, then give their yard a new identity.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE INSPIRATION

Jacobson's goal was to create a front yard that said neither "stay out," nor "come right In," he explains. Rather, he wanted the landscape, situated near downtown, to be a point of Interest for anyone passing by.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PLANTINGS

Jacobson kept mostly to a green palette to create tranquility and year-round good looks. Clumping Berkeley sedge dots the yard, while spiraled Aloe polyphylla and asparagus ferns line the drive. Japanese maples and dogwoods provide softness, shade, and color.

COURTYARD

Jacobson placed an arbor supported by concrete columns 7 feet from the house, creating a courtyard. "It felt like our house got one room bigger," says Jody. The area serves as a "decompression chamber," as Jacobson calls it, where the owners can hear the rustle of bamboo and the trickle from a recirculating water feature.

HARDSCAPING

The zigzag path to the house is based on a tenet of feng shui that there shouldn't be direct lines from the yard to the front door. The planting beds, mulched with tumbled glass in shades of blue and green and buff-colored decomposed granite, add texture while keeping the palette serene.

MAINTENANCE

The grasses get cut back every few years to encourage fresh growth, and there are some weeds to pull once in a while. "But the new front yard is definitely easier than taking care of a traditional lawn, especially in terms of chemicals--we don't need any," Jody says.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED

SUBURBAN HOMESTEAD

With its boring lawn, scratchy hedge, and dying camphor tree, garden designer Marilyn Waterman's yard in Menlo Park, California, "had no soul," she says. So she created her version of a homestead, mixing edible and ornamental plants. "When I took out the lawn, the neighbors said, 'We could never do that. Our kids need the grass,'" says Waterman. "But the kids always come over here to skip along the paths or pick apples. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.