Valerie and Gregory Thomas live on a corner lot with a long distance of street frontage. The etymology of the word gardening refers to enclosure, and through their gardening efforts they’ve sought to create a greater sense of definition to their yard: making the public areas distinct from the private zones.
The street sides of their yard reflect the tandem ideas of giving passersby a visual treat and carving out some placid, semi-private space for the family. In their front and side yards, they have curbside beds filled with roses, smaller native trees, wildflowers, succulents, perennials, herbs and native grasses. These provide a functional and visually interesting border to their partially native front and side lawns.
Gregory, who is primarily responsible for the design and maintenance of the garden, is a garden designer as well as an architect.
Along the busier streets are what Gregory has christened ‘heaven strips’–beds filled with a mix of native grasses, perennials, wildflowers, roses, succulents and annual flowers. Awash in reflected heat and mostly full sun, these beds are in a severe environment, yet–due to plant selection–the beds are mostly xeric. One of the goals of their garden is undoubtedly to be as water conservative as possible, which is reflected in their choice of mostly native and adapted plants, carefully located in the microclimates implied by the strips’ mix of sun and shade.
Their west-facing back yard is intended to create a relaxing refuge and a focal point for the home interior. It is the definition of a private, peaceful retreat. A central, circular, Zoysia lawn is surrounded by a vegetable/herb beds, roses, native and other trees, perennials, and ornamental grasses. The native plants, water, and nesting areas support a number of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Their yard is a certified wildlife habitat.
The goal of their gardening efforts–besides catering to their family and providing a functional and visually appealing landscape for visitors–has always been to have a more sustainable, Earth-kind landscape, awash in plenty of seasonal interest and variety, but with limited water and other inputs. Although they limit their water use, they have succeeded in their efforts to maximize flowers and year-round beauty.
For a PDF containing a plant list for this garden, click HERE.
To see more from this garden, please enjoy the gallery below. Double click for a full-sized image: