This is a fun visit with multiple outdoor zones that each create a different lifestyle experience!
This property began as 15,000 square feet of grass and the owners knew they wanted to make it as drought tolerant as possible. It didn’t have to happen all at once, and they have transitioned gradually. They immediately removed the grass from the parkway and filled it with California Natives and drought tolerant plants - instantly reducing their water bill. Next they removed the grass and amended the soil in a large part at the back of the yard to create an edible garden where they grow a variety of fruits and vegetables year round.
The edible garden has given them much more than produce. It is a great learning experience for the kids and a way to meet neighbors. It provides them with a use for all of their compostable food scraps, provides exercise and improves their lives in so many other ways. Their garden is connected to a neighbors garden which gets different sun light, so they grow different things and share. It has been one of the best parts of the garden. In the summer, they all sit out back between the gardens, enjoying a glass of wine and whatever delicious dishes they can create from their bounty as the kids play and the parents have some grown up time together.
Two years ago they removed the front lawn, replacing it with gravel and last year they began landscaping the rest of the backyard. It was important that the design make the outdoors a seamless living area with the interior. They also wanted low water output and even less maintainance. Using a mixture of natives, drought tolerant plants, drip irrigation and a low water lawn allowed them to accomplish their goals.
Their family was literally the first visitor on the first Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase in 2009 (they arrived on bikes an hour early!) and the tour played a big part in shaping their plans. They’ve been able to see so many plants and how the gardens filled in over the years of the tours. They asked the owners a lot of questions when touring the gardens to see what worked and what didn’t - what was maintenance free, what dropped leaves or berries. The biggest contribution from the tours was in their hardscaping plans. They had originally planned on a lot of DG, but did not like the way it wore down, and that it took a lot of maintenance to keep the weeds out. They looked at various weed blocks, and weed blocking solutions. With so many gardens, they were exposed to many different hardscape mediums. They inquired about watering needs of the plants they liked, and sun exposure requirements so that once established the plants they ultimately chose did well right off the bat.
They built the pool rather shallow with only a little bit of a deep end. The plaster is grey so it absorbs the sun better than a white bottom, and they have a cover that is not solar but is useful in keeping the warmth in during the evenings. They have mastered allowing the pool to soak up the maximum amount of sun during the day, and cover it at night allowing for a rather long season without ever heating the pool (April – October).
This garden is not only green because of the plants, but because they used Craigslist, neighbors and friends to pillage from. All their agave was given to them by a nice neighbor on Charnock who had a plant taking over his whole yard. A succulent that is now the entire background of the fence line began as cuttings given to them on a Craigslist run. The black aeonium lining the pool were cuttings from a neighbor on East. They bought mulch by the truckload and shared the cost with a neighbor in order to save on delivery charges (not to mention fuel and all those plastic bags). Solar City will be on hand to answer questions about their solar panels.