When these homeowners go into their garden, it's not just a place to look at pretty plants… it's to create an actual adrenaline rush. Their backyard is a true sportman's destination that includes a regulation size half-pipe skateboard ramp, firepit, raised veggie bed, dry dock for their ocean-worthy catamaran, outdoor shower for after surfing and a large communal table and grill for entertaining friends who come by the beach almost every weekend.
So for this couple, a traditional lawn bordered with water thirsty plants was definitely out of the question. After turning off the water and letting the lawn die, in the fall of 2010 they hired landscape designer Joel Lichtenwalter of Grow Outdoor Design to help create a mostly CA native and Mediterranean landscape that is a feast for the senses: including the scents, colors and textures of their adopted home. In place of the lawn, the ground is a pattern of large expanses of DG (decomposed granite), modern square concrete pavers and shredded bark mulch which nourishes the soil. The vegetation includes CA native salvia clevelandii, manzanitas, leymus and deergrasses, ceanothus and a fast-growing native Sycamore tree. Mediterranean plants include colorful leucadendrons, Euphorbias, agaves and a bronze-red Dodonaea border along the perimeter. An existing pomegranate tree and new raised veggie beds and citrus trees make eating locally really mean local.
The next spring the designer tackled the front yard, again removing the dead lawn and replacing it with a geometric path to the front door using square concrete pavers. Along the journey, one encounters more native grasses, salvias, avocado and camphor trees, golden sedums border the pavers, cistus, ceanothus and the native coyote brush groundcover are quickly covering the shredded bark mulch. The parkways are planted with more sycamores, avocados and ceanothus. The landscaping is a perfect synthesis of homeowner and location. When they walk into their yard, they truly feel alive.
Joel Lichtenwalter of Grow Outdoor Design will be at the garden the day of the tour. A Surfrider-LA Chapter OFG rep and an APLD-LA District rep will be tabling at this Ocean Friendly Gardens, pointing out how they apply the OFG principles of CPR (Conservation, Permeability & Retention).