Low water landscape design for young family: TJ and Lori had a new house in the Beaumont Wilshire neighborhood. They were planning the landscape long term for their son and future siblings. I love to design the landscape where my client’s children will grow up. It’s so satisfying! We are creating the places where important moments, family traditions and their children’s earliest memories will be made. Conserving water for the future was an important family value so a low water landscape design was very important.
Client Wish List
During the interview, I asked about edibles. They laughed and said in unison “Beans”! Green beans were important and there was clearly some family joke about them. Their wish list was extensive but the top 5 were curb appeal, low water use, Rain Garden for disconnected down spouts, no lawn, four season plantings and a screen to define their property from their neighbors without resorting to a fence…….and a special place for green beans.
We solved the curb appeal issue by designing the parking strip as if it were part of the front yard. This added needed depth and gave the large front facade of the house the feel of a much larger front yard. The disconnected downspouts were served with a pseudo rain garden dressed with boulders and interesting plantings for drama to the front foundation scene.
The parking strip was 8′ wide so was treated as an extension of the front yard, and we need that 8′! The house with such a tiny front yard floated. The new design integrated the parking strip into the front yard and “planted” the house visually.
Driveway Doubles as Useful Family Play Space
Typically no designer, well this one anyway, would select the driveway for family quality time. Rules are made to broken. As we worked together it became clear that the deep spacious driveway was the perfect place for the edibles garden and play space. The driveway got a privacy treatment, and a large arbor set within a stone planter. The planter acts as art, adds curb appeal, and visually softens the size of the driveway . It’s also a functional divide between the properties and it can be seen from inside the house, replacing the view of the neighbors side yard and house wall. Guess what they grow on the curved iron trellis? Green Beans!! People tall and short sit on the planter cap to garden and talk or play.
Other low water plantings:
Parrotia-Persian Iron Tree for parking strip
Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ – cone flower
Dwarf Pinus mugo – Tru dwarf varieties
Baptisia Australis ‘Purple Smoke’
Stepable ground cover, Thymus praecox ‘Elfin Pink’