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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

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.

Click the LIKE button on my Facebook page to join in our gardening conversations there.


  1. Oh, don't I wish we could take out all of our turf. Our gated community would never allow it and I don't want to fight them over it.
    You have done an amazing job. I'd love to see a picture of it from farther away, to get a sense of what it looks like in relation to the house.
    I'm gonna go back and reread all of the inserted posts again.
    You must just smile every time you pull up to your driveway...;0)

  2. Oh my! Your front plantings have really taken off. The layering effect is perfect with spots of colorful blooms. I am working on eliminating grass in the backyard first, then onward to the front. As it is, I have very little "lawn" area left. I have neglected the grass to the point where it is just scant weediness. My excuse is that it will be so much easier to turn into planting beds that way.

  3. I have almost eliminated my front lawn and replaced with plant beds. The ones under the oaks are in great shape. The ones closest to the road and under pines struggle a bit. Next project is get rid of the pines.

    The only place I have grass (read mowed weeds) is where an open strip has to be maintained so trucks can reach my side and back yards.

    I may follow your lead and replace the truck strip with mulch. Thanks.

  4. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!

  5. Our 2+ acre meadow grass would be impossible to replace with a garden without a huge budget and a troop of hired gardeners. Our neighborhood covenants require that the meadow remain grass.... BUT...they call it a meadow, but will fine us if the grass grows taller than 9 inches!

    If I had a manageable size property then yes, I would convert it to a garden.

  6. I love it Meems. I really do. How wonderful. I still have a lawnette, but I keep creeping in with more plants. I think men are more attached to their lawns than women, but perhaps, I'm making an unfair judgement.~~Dee

  7. Well done in taking the plunge on lawn removal! I bet your Saturday mornings are much more fun now! Your garden looks like a wonderful place to be - you must love it!

  8. Well done in taking the plunge on lawn removal! I bet your Saturday mornings are much more fun now! Your garden looks like a wonderful place to be - you must love it!

  9. Very beautiful!
    Happy gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

  10. I think turf is often better than growing grass from seed and can be a quicker option if the lawn is going to be used straight away.

  11. I would not be sorry to bid a farewell to turfgrass!


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway