Magazine article Sunset

Lively Yet Low-Water

Magazine article Sunset

Lively Yet Low-Water

Article excerpt

This front-yard makeover shows how to add curb appeal without raising your water bill

ROCKS COVERED the front yard when Ken and Beverly Behymer bought this house in Grants Pass, Oregon. But summers here are hot, and the couple yearned for a more inviting garden, one that wouldn't bake in the sun or raise their water bill by much. Landscape architect Jim Love's solution: Add mostly low-water plants that give the yard all-season appeal. Now drifts of unthirsty black-eyed Susans, fountain grass, gaura, and Genista lydia provide color; blue star creeper and Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet' fill the spaces between pavers.

DESIGN Jim Love, Galbraith and Associates, Medford, OR (galbraithla.com or 541/770-7964)

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BEFORE Because of the rock landscaping, the soil directly beneath was nearly unplantable. The few existing trees-a windmill palm to the right of the front entry, and a purple beech and Himalayan birches (Betula jacquemofttii) on opposite ends of the property-did little to cool the space.

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QUICK TIP

Rx FOR SOIL

To get the plants off to a good start in sunbaked, sterile ground, Jim Love inoculated the soil with mycorrhizal fungus, which helps roots take up nutrients and water. …

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