Patrick and I aim to do one or two big house projects each year, and we were on the verge of rebuilding the wall between the living room and office, with a list of contractors to call for estimates and then the pandemic hit. While construction is of course an essential business, it wasn’t like we were missing an outside wall, and I didn’t want people in and out of our home, so we decided to put the money toward finally doing the front yard.
When Patrick and I bought our home the previous owners had put down sod to provide a patch of lush green grass (you can see it in this listing photo), but after not watering it for like two days it promptly died and just would not come back. Additionally, I didn’t really want grass. Not in need of a place space for children to frolic in the front yard, combined with frequent droughts, having a front yard of grass simply didn’t make sense. So what to do?
As odd as this might sound, I fell in love with the landscaping on the tram route between the Mickey and Friends parking structure and Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort, which featured succulents, warm decomposed granite, and in one area, a lovely dry riverbed. Inspired by this I sketched out a design, and we set out to make it a reality last October, when it’s the best time to plant here in California.
We removed a curb that curved through the yard, as well as some plants, and laid it out, making a few changes here and there. We opted to make the “riverbed” a bit more of a path, connecting the driveway with the side path to the backyard, which also happens to be the path that our yard debris bin goes along when we work in the backyard, hence the width. Colonel Whiskers was a big help, as you’ll see…
Thankfully, the long period between sketching out my design and beginning the project left me with enough time to propagate additional plants from our existing ones, and we didn’t need to purchase a ton of new plants, saving us some money, which was immediately eaten by rocks. Rocks turns out are expensive, and because I wanted some larger ones, their weight required us to also pay for a crane service to place them.
While not wanting grass per se, I did want a small, grass-like area, near the front portion of the yard, and found a succulent called “Dwarf Carpet of Stars” which serves as a hardy, walkable, green ground covering. It takes ages to fill in, hence the long delay between the start of this project six months ago and now.
Overall, I’m really quite pleased with how the yard turned out, and we’ve received loads of compliments from neighbors, so I would call it a success! There are still plenty of other projects for the front of the house, including the front door, and porch light.