It’s high time I tell you the story of the transformation of our yard from lawn to the drought tolerant, native plant, rain catching, food growing paradise it is today. For most of its life, our 1940’s bungalow was surrounded by lawn with a shade tree or two, along with several misplaced plants along the foundation (who knew that little pine shrub would grown into a tree…).
We moved into this house in the 1970’s and joined the power lawn tool brigade each weekend as the whole neighborhood fired up the mowers and weed whackers in our collective attempt to keep a green carpet surrounding our lots. What we didn’t anticipate was two of our family members developing grass pollen allergies of the magnitude that put them in the house with all of the windows closed while nursing runny noses, puffy eyes, and sneezing attacks that sounded like artillery fire – just counting the days until Spring was over.
Time passed, children grew, water rationing came and went, vegetable gardens spawned summer zucchini wars…..when we finally got smart one sneezy day and asked the question:“Why don’t we get rid of this $#@#%% lawn?”
The list for keeping the lawns (both front and back) was short and the benefits for removing them was getting longer and longer.
The garden fairies heard our plea for just the right person to help us make this transition and, one magical day, Suzanne Dupont came into our lives. Her style of landscape design has everything to do with talking and seeing how we use our property. She watched us walk around the yards and even had our Sheltie run around the backyard to see where he liked to go. She conceived a plan that left room for the dog to chase squirrels along the fence, the grand kid to play croquet, and us to sit and sip our wine. Then, she gently suggested we make the most use of the sun we have to grow edibles and consider native plants, water collection, taking care of what we put into the ground and being aware that what runs off our yard ends up in the San Francisco Bay, then ultimately in the ocean.
Over the next series of posts, I’ll take you through our design process, the things that worked, and the things that we’ve changed because they didn’t work. Henny and the Peeps are waiting anxiously to tell you all of the details about their care and feeding, too.
I’ll leave you with a collage of how the front yard transformation started.