Yard Project

We have a couple of spots on our yard that have irritated me for years. There is a rectangle of what used to be grass bounded by sidewalks and the driveway. It is the first thing you see when you get out of your car and walk up to our front door.

The grass was nice while it lasted. But years of children and dogs walking across it, combined with summer droughts, had eliminated all but a couple of clumps of grass. The rest was an assortment of dandelions, other unidentified weeds, and bare dirt.

I'd been thinking about this spot for a long time, wondering what to put in that would be low maintenance and still attractive. I'd thought of filling it with monkey grass, which eventually grows so thickly together that no weeds can squeeze in. 

I had, in fact, planted the front edge to monkey grass, before realizing I did not have enough available to fill the whole spot. I also did not have enough energy to transplant more that day. And so it remained the same for a couple of years.

A couple of things came together to reignite my resolve. My growing dissatisfaction with the eyesore was reaching a tipping point at the same time that a friend reported using a hoe to rid herself of a large area of weeds in her own yard in order to plant grass. Inspiration in the form of example.

I came home and brought out the field hoe, a heavy hoe with a large blade that could cut deeply into the soil. Thinking I could get the whole rectangle worked and the monkey grass planted around the border in a couple of hours, I started to work. Reality was quick to rear its ugly head.

Trying to hoe such a large area to about a four or more inch depth was going to take much longer, so I made a border and then began planting the monkey grass. After much more than a couple of hours, I had this.

I wanted a ground cover to fill the space inside the monkey grass. Research on the internet was not giving me as much info as I wanted about ground covers that would work in a full sun area. After consulting with two area nurseries, I settled on perennial succulents, and after visiting three businesses, I'd collected enough for my area. 

Yellowish low variety of sedum and larger variety of sedum.

Baby tears on the left, hen and chicks at the top, blue-green sedum in the middle, and ice plants.
 Now to hoe up the rest of the area. At one spot place my hoe was hitting something hard and large. It turned out to be a good sized piece of limestone. Chuck helped me remove it and I saved it for an accent.

On that day a rain was imminent, so I felt compelled to not only finish working up the dirt, but also complete the planting. This is how it looked when we left for a late supper with friends. Limestone accent on the left.

Last step was to add cyprus mulch, so that it would not dry out so fast in the hotter part of summer, and so that it would have a finished look.

Limestone surrounded by hen and chicks, large sedum, baby tears, and yellowish sedum

More rock accents with a good view of ice plant.

Cedar log accent.

A photographer could do better, but this is how it looks now.


Mel said…
I love how that is looking! What a great solution. And hopefully relatively low-maintenance? Hen and chicks always remind me of your house from my childhood days, hanging out with Becca.

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