Debra Prinzing

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Now That We’ve Ripped Out The Grass . . .

June 6th, 2009

We turned off the irrigation and tried to "choke" out the grass. This technique is fairly effective...until winter rains arrive!

We turned off the irrigation and tried to "choke" out the grass. This technique is fairly effective...until winter rains arrive!

The traditional lawn-centric backyard is changing – for the better.

After a brutal buffalo grass removal process (that stuff refuses to die!), we’ve begun the transition to create my “dream” garden.

Gone are a dozen pygmy date palms and two gangly buddleia shrubs that never looked happy, even when they were blooming. Gone is 800 square feet of grass. Now we’re ready to install a low-water, Mediterranean and California native landscape in several border areas, planting beds and center “islands.”

In place of the turf, we’re spreading California Gold gravel. The material is about 3/8ths inch in size and has a mid-tone sandy gold color.

In the Pacific Northwest, if you were going to do a gravel garden, you’d use “quarter-minus crushed gravel,” but it would be from basalt; thus, it would be grey. Grey works under grey skies. Gold works under sunny skies.

Here’s how it arrived, yesterday:


The thing I like about the California Gold (or any crushed rock medium) is that rain and moisture percolate through to the ground rather than running off into the storm water system. Plus, you can plant right into it, thereby softening the hard look of too much stone. It’s compact-able; thus, it’s not uncomfortable to walk on. I’m not sure how my dog, Zanny, is going to enjoy it, but luckily, we’ve left a few places around the side of the house for her to do her business.

I’ll keep posting more photos as we continue the journey!

8 Responses to “Now That We’ve Ripped Out The Grass . . .”

  1. Carol, May Dreams Gardens Says:

    You got my attention with “ripped out the grass”. That’s going to be quite a transformation.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens’s last blog post..Unpacking Some Misc. Ideas Brought Home From Spring Fling

  2. Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" Says:

    How exciting Debra! Im looking forward to seeing your makeover.
    I’ve planted directly into DG before and it looks great!
    Shirley Bovshow

    Shirley Bovshow “EdenMaker”’s last blog post..A Yogi in My Garden!

  3. MA Says:

    OMG!!!!Who’s going to spread all that gravel??????????

    OK, now that I know it’s not going to be me, I can take a deep breath and sit back and watch this transformation take place. I LOVE new gardens. LOVE THEM.

  4. Daniel Mount Says:

    Looking forward to seeing your garden develop. This is exciting.

  5. Susan Cohan Says:

    I really like these types of ‘serial’ design posts. There’s so much to be learned from watching someone else’s process and progress. Thank you for sharing it!

    Susan Cohan’s last blog post..A rose by any other name…

  6. Lorene Says:

    This is WONDERFUL!
    Enjoy the creative act of building a garden but rest your bones often spreading that gravel in the California heat. I can’t wait to see what emerges. From what I remember of your Seattle garden I know it will be lush, textural, completely welcoming and comfortable with lots of places to lounge and chat. It will be exciting to see the “translation” to SoCal!
    Good luck, wish I could help!

    Lorene’s last blog post..Never enough “Thyme” in the garden…

  7. Lydia Plunk Says:

    That’s allot of wheelbarrows to push.

    Love the Verbena Bonarensis in the foreground.

    Always fun to see where it decides to pop up in following years

  8. Ben Says:

    Good start! A lot of work from now one. Hopefully you will have it soon your dream garden, and share it with us through photos

    Ben’s last blog post..Quelques informations sur l’agriculture biologique

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