|All photos by Rhonda Lawrence|
When the homeowners purchased this home in March, 2012, the overgrown Pride of Madeira plants in the front yard had become trees, creating a dark and scary little forest. A very tall ficus hedge planted next to the sidewalk blocked the front yard, creating a hiding place that the neighbors disliked. After completing remodeling projects inside the house in late summer, 2012, work began on the yards.
The homeowners wanted to create a silver-green, white, purple and yellow palette on the south side of the driveway that would be drought-tolerant, fragrant and offer a variety of garden experiences that would enhance the modern Southwest style home. They ripped out small areas of grass on either side of the driveway, re-did the path to the south side gate using decomposed granite, and spent hours online researching drought-tolerant plants, blooming perennials and dwarf size plants that would work in the small front yard.
The non fruit-bearing Mount Wilson Olive tree went in first, establishing a focal point surrounded by prolific white iceberg rose bushes, lavender, rosemary and sea lavender. Perennial dwarf grasses and succulents line the path opposite the olive tree. They removed most of the Madeira bushes, leaving just a few after drastic pruning.
The paths on either side of the house are decomposed granite, which offers the advantage of being water permeable without requiring watering or creating the mess that regular dirt would. They also installed larger downspouts that drain directly into new drains around the sides and back of the house to control the runoff and prevent further water damage to a back bedroom.
The yard is irrigated twice per week; they hope to reduce watering to weekly once the plants have acclimated.
The garden is a work-in-progress. There's still much to do but they're having fun!