After removing 9,000 square feet of lawn in 2014 and early 2015, all we had left was 8-10′ wide strips behind the house and on 2 sides of the pool. So close with such outdoor living functionality and aesthetic appeal, this band was precious to us.
Even so, in June 2015 I realized we could lop off 310 square feet at the strips’ ends. Drip-irrigated plants with hardscape there could save water and, as it turned out, win on many levels.
Left and center photos show the 10′ wide area between the stone wall and pool area. We truncated this 52′ long stretch of grass to 30′ and replaced the 8-sprayhead section by the cabana with:
- Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ to mirror the hedge by the house
- Groundcover of Plectranthus ciliatus ‘Dredge’ and Plecostachys serpyllifolia
- Accents of 2 Cordyline banksii Electric Star and 1 climbing Rosa ‘Polka
- Dual extension of gravel path with Cherokee Creek flagstone
Right photos show grass south of the house that continued to an odd 9’x10′ space bounded by stone walls and steps. An Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ with Helichrysum petiolare suit it better now.
- Conversion from lawn to plants at the far ends of the 1,200-square-foot area cut water use 32%.
- Add new lawn conservation techniques covered in an upcoming post, and total savings were 68%.
- No functional degradation occurred – the volume of grass left still satisfied dogs and humans.
- Spatial proportions were more pleasing once the narrow strips were shortened.
- Hardscape worked better than grass for the often-used path to the cabana’s storage area.