Garden Tour 2016

Savvy Water Saver

Five years ago these homeowners wanted a change…and what a change they got! Not only did they achieve an aesthetic change to their landscape, but a significant change in maintenance requirements and water use too!

The courtyard wall and custom iron fence add an architectural backdrop to this eye-catching and drought tolerant composition. The ground plane provides a tapestry of texture with what feels like a pond of permeable decomposed granite bridged by a walkway of flagstone, surrounded by a shoreline of boulders, cobbles and rock. A succinct plant palette provides year round interest in this garden with the sculptural quality of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and the red foliage of Purple Hopseed Bush, Chinese Fringe Flower and Japanese Bloodgrass. In addition, cool blue gray foliage and purple blooms are introduced with Russian Sage, Rosemary and Blue Shore Juniper.

This home was previously on the tour in 2014 and at that time the interior of the courtyard was lawn. Since then the homeowners have replaced the natural lawn with artificial turf. Although artificial turf results in water savings, it is not the ‘greenest’ alternative to natural lawn. Synthetic turf installations require significant compaction of the soil/subgrade and therefore create a non-permeable surface which results in runoff and potential water soluble pollutants from the synthetic materials. In addition, the surface when in a full sun application can create a ‘heat island’ effect rather than the naturally heat-tempering benefits of living plant material.

Regardless, the overall reduction of lawn in this front yard results in a significant daily water savings of 60 gallons of water per day during the summer months…this landscape is truly a savvy water saver!


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