Lot size: 1,100 sq. ft. front garden, 95% native
Garden Age: Garden was installed in October of 2011
Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: New this year!
Darcy, “sick of mowing,” wanted something different. She attended the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour several times, found Livermore’s own Kat Weiss, of Kat Weiss Landscape Design, and . . . things began to change. The water-guzzling redwoods, the Japanese maple that wilted in the summer heat, and the Chinese tallow tree were removed and chipped. The lawn was sheet-mulched—covered with cardboard scavenged from bicycle and appliance shops, and then with wood chips from the trees that had been removed, and left to sit. A curvaceous Three Rivers flagstone walkway and patio were installed, a copious quantity of dirt was brought in to create the mounds that provide the drainage that most natives need, and Darcy happily did the planting. Now, manzanita and California lilac provide structure and greenery throughout the year. Native fuchsia, used as a groundcover, produce bright red tubular flowers in the late summer and fall. Flowering currant soften the lines of the house. Oaks spring up, unbidden. Darcy reports that she is “mesmerized” by the garden, and “loves, loves, loves” it.
• St. Catherine’s lace and toyon will function as living fences when they mature. • Water use has dropped since the lawn was removed; it will decrease further when the plants are established. • Don’t miss the “before” photos.
Native bees adore the California lilac, penstemon, and poppies. Birds and butterflies are drawn to the rosy buckwheats and the coyote mint.