Magazine article Sunset

What to Plant between Pavers

Magazine article Sunset

What to Plant between Pavers

Article excerpt

Grass makes outdoor "floors" as interesting as indoor carpets

Debating whether to use lawn or concrete to fill the large, open space in your garden? A lawn is green and alive but has to be cut, watered, and fertilized. Concrete takes plenty of wear but can look dull and uninviting. Don't choose-pick the best of both: with a little planning, it's easy to mix lawn and paving, as shown in the two gardens pictured above and on page 86.

Carrie and Marty Davich of Pasadena wanted a cozy patio outside their master bedroom where they could have morning coffee or a moonlit drink. That called for a soft look-not a hard masonry surface. So they hired Mark Bartos of Hortus Garden Design of Pasadena to come up with a solution. Bartos scraped the earth outside the bedroom door flat and smooth. Then he put down 2-inch-thick, off-theshelf concrete pavers, spacing them 6 inches apart, ran drip irrigation tubes between them, and planted Korean grass (Zoysia tenuifolia; Sunset climate zones 8-9, 12-24).

The grass forms a fine, bumpy, dark green mat that looks as luxurious as carpet. The owners water it every other day in hottest weather, and occasionally scatter complete granular fertilizer.

Up in Anchorage, Mark Pfeffer and Deb CiCero wanted a handsome surface outside their back door that would stand up to foot traffic and the movement of heavy garden equipment. So Pfeffer placed square pavers in a checkerboard pattern, then cut sections of sod and laid them between the pavers. Now five years old, the surface has held up perfectly. Pfeffer feeds the grass (a hardy local blend) with a highnitrogen fertilizer in spring and early summer. He waters only when the Alaskan summer is too dry and mows the lawn with a rotary mower, just as he would a regular lawn.

Choice plants to pair with pavers

Grass stands up best to traffic. But if you plan to tread only infrequently on the surface or you're willing to step from paver to paver, avoiding the greenery, you have a greater selection to choose from. …

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