Last year I decided to help an ill friend out by tending to his yard. It started out as a little pruning and ended up being a front yard makeover. The yard had overgrown shrubs, no watering system, a narrow access from the driveway to the front door, and an old lawn that contained a lot of weeds. The yard required a lot of time watering manually. Why not create something better?
The idea was to make the yard low maintenance, pleasing to the eye, and not spend very much money. Instead of just putting a watering system in, we decided to take out the lawn.
A retaining wall using the same blocks as in front of the house was put around the tree for a visual affect. The yard sloped quite a bit to the sidewalk so I put in a border using the same blocks.
One way of saving money was to use plants that were already in the yard. Plants that were growing too close together were moved to another place in the yard. A lemon tree that was growing in a barrel in the backyard was moved to the front planter in front of the window. A friend dug up some extra plants that were also added.
The yard is finished now. It now has a drip system and new shrubs and plants. An added bonus in doing this yard was getting cash from the City of Santa Rosa for taking out the lawn. The city also gave a rebate for the water valves, timer, and wireless weather irrigation controller. There is a great CD they gave me about water wise gardening in Sonoma County. You can get it for free on the following Web site: www.gardensoftusa.com.
This project took place in the fall. The roses and tree have all been pruned now that it is winter. It was a really rewarding project and I can hardly wait for spring to see all the new growth and the roses, lilacs, and other plants blooming.