Whimsical & Water Wise
What was once a persistent Bermuda lawn with heavy clay soils has undergone sheet mulching and soil rehabilitation to provide a nourishing, permeable and sustainable site with a proliferation of native plantings and suburban wildlife habitat.
The planting theme in this garden is sages and other pollinator favorites, keeping to a low and cool palette. Swaths of plants were used for both visual impact and pollinator delight. Small trees and larger shrubs create multiple perches and cover for smaller birds.
A river-friendly landscape theme highlights the water management system designed to slow water flows from roofline to gutter. Rainfall is checked and reabsorbed into the soil via several permeability strategies: bioswales, a rain garden, rain barrels, rain chain and the permeable paving strips in the new driveway. In fact this garden shows no runoff onto the sidewalk until a storm event reaches three inches of rainfall or more.
The garden is irrigated using subsurface drip irrigation laid on a grid and a smart controller. The back side yard reveals a Laundry to Landscape greywater system to grow fruit trees and other moderate water use edibles (installed by GrowWater.org).
Water-wise hydrozoning is implemented. All front yard plants are low and very lowwater users with the exception of pots, rain garden and side yard edibles. Walnut shells are a local agricultural byproduct that provides a clean, neat, long lasting mulch.
The recycled concrete (a.k.a. Urbanite) from the old driveway was used to build the pathway, steps and garden wall. The new micro-patio behind a seat wall planter allows us to view wildlife visiting the raised plantings all year round. Recycled windshield glass (a.k.a. Kryptonite) is incorporated into the wall and other areas complementing the color scheme of the home, adding a sparkle of color and providing a glowing effect in the sunlight.
A collection of Mexican talavera pottery and figurines add whimsy and humor to this wonderful water-wise example of ‘greener’ gardening.
- California Spicebush, Calycanthus occidentalis
- Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- Bubba Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba'
- Cork Oak, Quercus suber
- Elizabeth Bush Anemone, Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth'
- Diamond Heights Ceanothus, Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Diamond Heights'
- Carmine Bells Australian Fuchsia, Correa 'Carmine Bells'
- Eve Case Coffeeberry, Frangula californica 'Eve Case'
- Dancing Tassels Currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum 'Tranquillon Ridge'
- White Sage, Salvia apiana
- Celestial Blue Salvia, Salvia 'Celestial Blue'
- Germander Sage, Salvia chamaedryoides 'Electric Blue'
- Blue Note Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii 'Blue Note'
- Dark Dancer Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer'
- Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha
- Midnight Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'
- Black Elderberry, Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'
- Variegated Elderberry, Sambucus nigra 'Variegata'
- Foothill Angelica, Angelica tomentosa
- Silver Mound Artemisia, Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciose
- Rock Purslane, Calandrinia grandiflora
- Carpet Echeveria, Echeveria agavoides 'Lipstick'
- Western Marsh Rosemary, Limonium californica
- Blue Anise Sage, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
- Phyllis' Fancy Sage, Salvia 'Phyllis' Fancy'
- West Texas Cobalt Sage, Salvia reptens West Texas form
- Hummingbird Sage, Salvia spathacea
- Bog Sage, Salvia uliginosa
- Carpet Stonecrop, Sedum album
- Western Blue Eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium bellum
- Everett's Choice California Fuschia, Zauschneria californica 'Everett's Choice'
- Marsh Baccharis, Baccharis douglassii
- Berkeley Sedge, Carex divulsa
- California Meadow Sedge, Carex pansa
- Cape Rush, Chondropetulum tectorum
- Festina Blue Fescue, Festuca glauca 'Festina'
- Idaho Fescue, Festuca idahoensis
- Elk Blue California Gray Rush, Juncus patens 'Elk Blue'
- California Hibiscus, Hibiscus lasiocarpus
- Little Ollie Dwarf Olive, Olea 'Little Ollie'
- Everillo Golden Sedge, Carex oshimensis 'Everillo'
- Live Forever, Dudleya cymosa
- White Rain Lily, Zephranthes candida
- California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
- Marsh Baccharis, Baccharis glutinosa
- Bridges' Brodiaea, Triteleia bridgesii
- Foothill Prettyface/Golden Brodiaea, Triteleia ixioides var. scabra,
- Sierra Giant Triteleia, Triteleia laxa ‘Sierra Giant'/'Dinnerplate’
- Long -rayed Triteleia, Triteleia peduncularis
- Ornamental Onion, Allium species
- Common Soap Root, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
- Peruvian Scilla, Scilla peruviana
- Tuolumne Fawn Lily/Tuolumne Dog's Tooth, Erythronium tuolumnense
- Blue Dicks/Wild Hyacinth, Dichelostemma capitatum
- Firecracker Flower, Dichelostemma ida-maia
- Wild Hyacinth/Snakelily, Dichelostemma multiflorum
- Appendaged Brodiaea, Brodiaea appendiculata
Designer: Soleil Tranquilli, Tranquill Gardens
Contractor: Eric Zemlicka, Z-Scapes
Project Cost: $23,000
Installed: Winter/Spring 2015
This 'greener' garden is within the Laguna Creek Watershed. A river friendly garden like this one reduces runoff and the pollutants that would otherwise drain into Elk Grove Creek, a tributary of Laguna Creek.