3666 Barry Avenue

Growing flowers and food gives this gardener joy

These homeowners bought their Mar Vista home as a "fixer-upper" four years ago. The front yard was ugly lawn with two trees and the backyard a junk pile.

After living in the high desert for many years they were so happy to garden in the amazing Mar Vista climate. One designed and built a fence in the front yard. The other frequented the local small nurseries, buying pots of white ginger, fuchsias, gardenias and the like. As soon as the fence was complete, they made border gardens with the rock collection she inherited from her rock-hound father. They removed the lawn and mulched the areas around the border and tree gardens.

There is nothing formal about this garden. It is a wild mix of things that flower at different times of the years so there is always color. There are trees, shrubs, vines, bulbs, perennials and annuals closely set. The pathways require no water and very little upkeep. They hand water the front yard flower garden as it needs according to weather conditions. 

In the back yard, they built raised vegetable beds with lumber beams rescued from a job site were they destined for the trash. They grow a variety of vegetables, companion planting, using vegetable pony packs in the winter months when there is not enough light to get seeds started. In the winter they grow greens of all types - lettuce, chard and kale. Fava beans do well in the winter too. In the summer they have peppers, tomatoes, squash and other summer veggies. Raised beds allow them to grow a lot of plants with little space and makes the maintenance easy.