Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Designing Trends - - The NO Lawn Yard

With spring around the corner and the temperatures rising, it is time to think about landscaping again. You look outside at your backyard which resembles a sea of grass. You are tired of mowing and dumping lots and lots of water and chemicals on it. The kids have grown up and they don’t need a place to run around. You are ready for a change, but you don’t know what to do. You heard of the term xeriscape, and it intrigues you, but you don’t know where to start.

Xeriscaping is a term used to define a low water use landscape. Before you rip out your lawn and put down a bunch of rock mulch and plant sage brush, you need to find out what your overall goals are for the yard. Do you want to expand your outdoor living area? Are there views that need to be screened or kept open? Do you want to harvest the rainwater to water the garden? Do you need Shade? What style do you want? ----- Xeriscape means low water not arid. The xeriscape terminology can be applied to almost any garden style; you just need to know what you want.

The two designs shown here may look totally opposite, but they have one thing in common; they are driven by the xeriscape philosophy. Just because a garden has no lawn it doesn’t mean it has to be boring – the main key is structure and design.

The first garden breaks up the yard in several different rooms. A multi-level deck which is attached to the residence plays host to the outdoor kitchen/bar and the outdoor dining room. Two shade structures welcome shade to the hot afternoon sun and provide an overhead plane to give the room a sense of place. A curved paver path leads to the sunken outdoor living room with an outdoor fireplace. Just south of the outdoor living sits the secluded sunken hot tub area. West of the outdoor Living sits the ‘Stone Forest’ -- A basalt outcrop sculpture garden with bird bath boulders and boulder slab benches to provide a quiet and clam place to sit and read or just contemplate life. This garden has a modern flare with masses of lush drought tolerant ground covers and an abundance of trees to provide dappled shade to create an inviting environment.


The second garden has a more open feeling then the first. A multi-level paver patio play host to the outdoor kitchen and dining areas as well as the sunken hot tub. A hammock sits in one corner under a grove of trees and in the other corner sits the fire pit area. A basalt column outcrop water feature with a bird bath boulder adds a relaxing sound to the garden and a place for wildlife to drink. The water feature could be hooked up with the drip irrigation system to harvest rainwater and save more water. Two colors of rock mulch define the circulation patterns and small berms with boulders and sparse, drought tolerant plantings add to the Southwest flare of this Garden.

Two yards with two radically different looks, accomplishing the same goal - Low water use and NO LAWN, in different ways. Contact us today to discuss your xeriscape yard.

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