Magazine article Sunset

Out with the Lawn, in with the Flowers

Magazine article Sunset

Out with the Lawn, in with the Flowers

Article excerpt

A Northwest front yard gets a total face-lift

His old front yard was about as soulless as a landscape can be. But for Joel Potthoff of Bothell, Washington, the 1,800-square-foot space had one thing in its favor: unlimited potential. With that in mind, he tore out everything but an electric lamppost, and started over.

An old concrete walkway and the lawn were the first things to go. Potthoff, who is head groundskeeper at Lake Washington Technical College, smothered the lawn under a layer of soil. Then he tilled in 15 cubic yards of topsoil and compost, raising the level of the garden by almost 20 inches. He laid a new brick path from the street to the house, where it meets a series of steps and landings that form a spacious entry area outside the front door.

Potthoff planted deciduous trees, including maples and a dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), and flowering shrubs such as Lavatera maritima. He also planted a row of Cupressocyparis leyland `Castlewellan'; its golden foliage forms an evergreen privacy screen on one side of the garden.

Then he filled the area between the trees and shrubs with long-blooming perennials, including coreopsis, delphinium, gaillardia, geranium, monarda, Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm', and Shasta daisy "I really packed the plants in, so there would be no room for weeds," he says. …

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