This summer I had the pleasure of being part of an awesome project. My neighbour decided she was tired of “feeding the grubs” that were destroying the grass in her front yard each year. When I told her of my plan to retire from the health care industry to start up a gardening company, she enlisted my help to design and plant a grass-free front yard. Although the sweltering heat slowed us down a bit, we perservered, slowly creating our masterpiece. Many curious neighbours walked and drove by, stopping to admire our progress, especially when their yards were slowly turning a crispy yellow with the heat and drought. The finished product is stunning, and since I live across the street, I enjoy the best view! The project was a “team” effort with many heads and hands involved…..
To get some inspiration, my neighbour and I drove around looking at and taking pictures of other grass-free yards in our area. This step helped us visualize what we wanted and also what we didn’t want in our design. We then took measurements of her yard, working with the existing landscaping features she planned to keep, such as the stone garden wall installed several years ago, the neighbour’s garden and grass, the driveway, the road etc. Slowly, but very methodically, we created a design on paper of what would be soil/plants/mulch and what would be rock.
Next, we called on Sean Fagan and his crew from Shamrock Painting and Finishing to remove the sod, which would have been a back-breaking and time consuming job for us. When the sod was gone, we transferred our design to the dirt surface so Sean and his team could then position and install the edging between the sections, and shovel the soil and two different sizes of river rock into the designated areas.
While they were doing that, perennials and shrubs were chosen to plant in the soil. I must admit to being a plant shopaholic, so picking out and purchasing plants was right up my alley! A variety of bloom and foliage color, shape, size and bloom time was selected, with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous plants, so that the garden would look great from all angles as well as all year around. We also dug up, divided and moved many existing plants, incorporating them into the plan. Plants were spaced well apart so when full grown they will not be overcrowded. The finishing touch was a layer of black cedar mulch to prevent the soil from drying out and to keep the weeds from taking over. The black color is beautiful, like freshly watered soil, contrasting nicely with the green plants.
Photos below are before, during and after the completion of our project….I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the plants fill out in summers to come!