When these garden owners bought their house in July 2012, the front and back yards consisted of turf and a few shrubs. After remodeling, all that remained was dirt...so basically they were starting with a blank canvas. Their goal was to create a drought-resistant front garden that would the contemporary style of their house and, in the back, divide the yard into three useful, well-defined areas that would also be mindful of the water limitations of gardening in Los Angeles.
In the fall of 2013, they hired Pam Bottaro of Red Lemon Landscape to design and plant the garden.
In the front garden, Red Lemon planted California natives, succulents and Southern Hemisphere and Mediterranean water-wise plants that surround two Marina Arbutus trees and flank the path to the front door. Initially Red Lemon also planted Native Bent Grass in the front, but when that proved problematic, they replaced it with landscape gravel around the trees and on the parking strip.
In the back, they divided the large yard into three distinct areas: a fenced vegetable garden with raised beds made out of broken concrete recycled from the remodel; a small fruit orchard with with a dozen trees and a grape arbor; and an area of drought-tolerant Native Bent Grass with perimeter plantings of California Natives and other water wise plants near a fountain off an outdoor living room.
The irrigation was switched from sprinklers to drip emitter lines, and their controller is on a satellite with weather-sensing technology that automatically adjusts watering amounts and schedule year round.
Going from a boring yard to a lovely landscaped garden gives the homeowners much joy – they have a seasonal supply of citrus and stone fruit, grapes, berries and an ever evolving vegetable garden, and a delightful show of butterflies and hummingbirds.