3208 Stoner Avenue
This garden makes the point that water conservation is not an all or nothing proposition. They still have some lawn area, but it accomplishes a lot to reduce the amount of lawn and they water that reduced area judiciously.
They were inspired by Sunset magazine. They wanted to showcase California natives (mostly purchased from the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley) and do something a little different from the traditional green lawn. In 2003, few neighbors had experimented with drought-resistant landscapes, and they’re happy to see now that more and more of the community is gardening with these beautiful plants.
With a dog and three children, the gardens are as much function as form, and are by no means perfect- more like a well-worn living room. They’ve combined what was there when they moved in with other drought-resistant plants they planted in 2003. They just added a small vegetable garden. They did a lot of experimentation - decomposed granite walkways didn’t work for their lifestyle. They tried a pebble walkway- also a mess, especially with the dog poop in the back. Ultimately they went back to grass in the back with pavers, but kept an area around the garage and in the back with decomposed granite and permeable pavers to minimize run-off.
They estimate their lawn uses about 20% less water than a traditional all-turf lawn. They find that they can leave the sprinklers off in between rains. This year they installed a rain barrel from the city’s free program.
Check out the Australian tea tree plant in front of the house – it’s showy and beautiful. The rosemary by the gate always attracts passers-by. They have tons of sage, ceanothus, lavender, and wooly blue-curls as well.
Ask them about their compost bins and solar panels as well!