Local water “bad girl” makes good

berms surround meadow of Festuca idahoensis

berms surround meadow of Festuca idahoensis

Mix of Phormium 'firebird' and Anigozanthos 'Big Red'

Mix of Phormium 'firebird' and Anigozanthos 'Big Red'

This last summer I helped another lucky Santa Monica resident take advantage of Santa Monica’s Sustainable Landscape Grant program. Her front yard consisted of a pine tree, an olive tree, a few shrubs and a whole lot of grass. Really it was the perfect project because she was excited to remove all of the grass and really loved the structural look of succulents. Removing the grass was especially important because she had been cited for watering overspray and her water bills were high. Because her house is very close to Santa Monica College she needed a design solution that would help block a lot of the trash that would blow into her yard. To this end, we came up with the idea of decomposed granite berms to showcase the lovely Agave medio picta ‘Alba’, Agave attenuata, Euphorbia tirucalli and various other smaller succulents. The berms allow the homeowner a sense of enclosure without really blocking her off from the world. In additon, we created a meadow effect using Festuca idahoensis ‘Siskiyou Blue’. This particular variety is a little tougher to find than the regular Festuca glauca (Blue Fescue Grass) but well worth it because it grows larger and has more movement and interest. turkey Now this local water “bad girl” is not only the proud owner of a sustainable garden she is paying drastically less on water each month.  An important figure to remember is a 1,000 square foot lawn will require about 600 gallons/week.  Since the old lawn and adjacent plantings were about 1,500 square feet, this means about 900 gallons a week was required to keep it alive.  The new garden will take about a third of the water at the outset and less as the garden becomes established.  Now that’s exciting!

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