Magazine article Sunset

Garden in Motion

Magazine article Sunset

Garden in Motion

Article excerpt

THE FRONT LAWN HAD TO GO. Not only was it an uninspiring match for the Mediterranean-style home- which is located in the Bay Area town of Atherton- but it was thirsty as well. Parched, in fact: During the summer, the homeowner had to truck in water to keep it green.

Tasked with replacing the grass, landscape designer Chris Jacobson was encouraged to get creative. Spurred by the client, a gardener herself, Jacobson looked to the work of Dutch landscape master Piet Oudolf, who is perhaps best known for the plantings on New York City's High Line. "He does these invented prairie gardens with large drifts of perennials," says Jacobson. "The challenge was to 'Califomicate' that look."

Out went the flat, water-guzzling lawn, and in came curving paths and gently sloping berms. To create naturalistic swaths, Jacobson pulled together a collection of California-friendly plants: Purple-leafed 'Forest Pansy' Eastern redbud trees, bright green grassy Lomandra 'Breeze', neat clumps of heuchera, sculptural asparagus fern, and bronzy dwarf phormium are showy nearly yearround. Not all are natives, but they're all drought-tolerant and fit together aesthetically. "Plants have a way of getting along," Jacobson says. …

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