Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

New scenes of my lawn-free backyard

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
My killer backlit shot of the central path

My killer backlit shot of the central path

We now have a backyard that is grass-free. The space has undergone a huge transformation since earlier this summer when a crew removed the last patches of dying turf. With irrigation repaired and new planting beds+borders outlined and populated, we received a delivery of California Gold crushed gravel to carpet the walking areas. I’ve since decided on the very best way to describe this color of gravel. To me, it will forever be called “Golden Lab.” When our dog Zanny lays on the gravel in the warm Cali sunshine, we notice that her fur blends beautifully – practically the same color.

Our 25th anniversary was last week, and Bruce surprised me with a brand new digital camera, a Canon PowerShot G10. This is a “big girl” camera. No point-and-shoot idiot stuff for me anymore. OK, basically, I have no idea how to do anything BUT point and shoot, but I hope to learn.

The partner-in-crime in this Canon choice is none other than Bill Wright. Bill and I have worked together for years and together created Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways. He knows his stuff. I’m sure he rolled his eyes (privately) about my wimpy camera shenanigans while we were on location together. Lucky for me, Bill advised Bruce on this camera purchase. Oh, and one sweet note. Bruce gave me a 35mm manual camera for a wedding gift on August 24, 1984. It was a beautiful Pentax. I used it for years, but eventually, it broke (OK, it “was dropped,” which is my passive way of saying I broke it) and couldn’t be repaired. That he remembered the wedding gift 25 years ago and wanted to do a reprise was both thoughtful and romantic.  I’m going to get major mileage out of this Canon. That is, when I learn all of its bells and whistles.

Until then, here is my maiden voyage. Photos of the “new” backyard:

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

Saturday, 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!