A luscious, lawn-free rock garden in Denver
Don’t you love the feeling you get when pulling up to someone’s home for the very first time, and the moment you see their garden you just know you’re in for a treat? That’s how I felt when my taxi slowly crept along the street, looking for the address of Sheila Schultz. This past May I spent a week in Denver filming an instructional video for Craftsy (click here if you'd like to watch it!) and [read more]
Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden –  Part 3 (plus a giveaway!)
  Here we are at the end of May and I'm happy to share with you the final phase of my front garden re-do! As you may recall, in January I finally decided to remove my little-used front lawn and replace it with a low-water garden (you can read about it here and here). After moving around my new little plants at least a half a dozen times each, most of them have finally found their permanent homes.  Going back [read more]
Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden – Part 2
Phew - I've been busy!  As promised a few weeks ago, here's the next phase of my front lawn-removal project. After deciding on the materials and final shape of the pathways, the next step was to remove the lawn.  A physically grueling task to be sure. Enlisting some help from one with a much stronger back than I, we (the British 'we', that is) removed it by hand, making sure to dig deep to remove any stray lawn roots that [read more]
Goodbye lawn, hello garden  – Part 1
It's a new year and with it comes the oh-so-familiar new year's resolutions.  And while I rarely keep the ones I make (lose weight, exercise more, blah blah blah) this is a resolution that's long overdue and one that I'm thrilled to undertake: getting rid of my unused front lawn. With California's lowest recorded rainfall in its history (that's over 160 years!), the timing is perfect to practice what I preach.  Even though I remove lawns for many of my [read more]
Shades of Gray in a No-Lawn Front Garden
I'm thrilled to announce that one of the gardens I designed for a client is featured in this month's Sunset magazine (if you don't subscribe, you can read about it here in their online version). While the folks at Sunset did a fantastic job capturing the drought-tolerant aspects of this garden (the homeowners reduced their water bill by 40%!) I thought I'd go into a little more detail about using the very-gray colored Dymondia margaretae as a lawn substitute, and the [read more]
Lawn Gone!  Book Party, Review and Giveaways
To celebrate the release of Pam Penick's new book, Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard, you’re all invited to attend her Lawn Gone Book Party – with some very cool party prizes! Six garden blogging friends and I are hosting 7 great giveaways this week, all related to the theme of – drumroll please – lawn alternatives. Lawn Gone! is, of course, about alternatives to the traditional lawn: all kinds of ground-covering plants, functional and appropriately scaled hardscape, [read more]
One thing I've noticed about many areas of Los Angeles is that if someone is lucky enough to have a garden at all, quite often it's located in front of the house.  The houses either back up into the surrounding hillsides, or are on super tiny lots with neighboring houses crowding them on all sides. The front is sometimes the only place to find space and/or sunshine for a garden. One of my very favorite surprises is a garden [read more]
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Baylor Chapman, at her gorgeous floral studio Lila B. Design.  While I've written about her shop before (you can read it here), this time I'm writing about the building across the street.  Yep, it's the giant green one which you can see out of her storefront window. The building is called The Allied Box Factory, and Baylor just so happens to live there. It's one of the great old timber buildings [read more]
If you're familiar with my blog, then you know I love grasses.  And luckily they're becoming more and more common in most every nursery, with many selections to choose from.   Yes, grasses are all the rage and for good reason. Why?  Generally speaking, grasses will grow in just about any type of soil, most are drought tolerant and diseases and pests aren't usually an issue.   (more…) [read more]
Let me state up front that I'm not a hater when it comes to lawns.  There, I've said it. If you have a lawn and you or your kids actually use it, then it's okay in my book.  Especially if you don't have unrealistic expectations that you need to saturate your garden with chemicals to keep your lawn weed free and in tip-top shape at all times. However, in California's Mediterranean climate where water is such a precious commodity, planting [read more]