Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
When the Front Garden is Lawn-less
Many folks are becoming more & more aware of the problematic issues invited when growing and maintaining a monoculture like a Florida lawn. I finally grew weary of the endless cycle of fighting chinch bug damage, watering restrictions, and upkeep. You will likely see some quizzical looks on the faces of those who hear there isn't any grass in your front yard. It isn't exactly conventional to decide to remove it and replace it with groundcovers and plants. Though not typical it has been one of the wisest and most rewarding choices I made in my garden.
My neighbors are getting used to my lawnless front garden these days. It's been a little over a year since I hit the delete button on the last vestige of lawn-turf that I gradually removed over the course of several years.
Variegated shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) makes a great backdrop for staggered layers of Philodendron x 'Xanadu', persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), caladiums, begonias, and flax lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'). The pinestraw pathway serves as a break visually between bedding plants and allows a footpath for meandering and/or working. It makes its way around in a curvy semi-circle on the south side of the driveway that divides the front garden.
For a more in-depth look at this part of the garden and the journal kept of gradual removal of the lawn read here.
In 2010 my garden was recognized as a Florida-Friendly lancscape yard. Follow this link to read more about how to do this for your yard.
There is a slight slope toward the street on both sides of the driveway. The pathway on this north side winds between planting beds and large oaks and is not visible from the street. This side has grown in remarkably well since I planted it last April (2011). You can read more about it here to review the before photos and read about the process involved.
Conditions of high-shifting shade from oak trees on this side protects the plants from extreme temperatures in all seasons. I am continually amazed at how very little of my attention these plantings require.
Giant liriope, Giant Apostles' Iris Neomarica caerulea 'Regina', holly ferns (Cyrtomium falcatum), Cordyline 'Red Star', crimson pentas (Lanceolata), Agapanthus, coonties (Zamia floridana), yarrow, blue-eyed grass, bulbine, Artillery Fern (Pilea microphylla), Chinese fan palm (Livistonia chinensis), caladiums, bamboo muhly grasses (muhlenbergia dumosa), and flax lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata') have become happy neighbors in this environment providing year round interest.
The front garden is divided into spaces by large oak tree 'islands'. Also to the north of the driveway, this area leads to the edible garden that borders the north side of our house. These naturally placed trees were here when we bought this house almost 28 years ago. (I planted all the trees in the back garden but these were perfectly placed by nature).
What about you? Could you take out all the grass in your front garden? If you're thinking about it or if you're just trying to achieve a more Florida-Friendly garden click here for pertinent information and helpful ideas and tips.
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