Projects! Reduce lawn makeover! Container vegetables!

September 13th, 2012 Posted in Nurseries, Seeds, bees, butterflies, container gardens, deer, drought, fruit trees, garden bloggers, garden design, garden projects, lawn replace, native plants, trees, vegetables, wildlife

Revival! As the rock roses (Pavonia lasiopetala) and Turk’s cap swing back into gear, my ideas hit revival mode, too.

Rock rose and turk's cap
Projects are finally in the works.  Last spring, we laid a sandstone path over a section of dead grass, but wanted time to think about what to do next.

Path project lawn reduce

We’ve decided to get more sandstone, but to reduce the heat factor, I’m leaving wide spaces to plant frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora). You can see how the first ones are already creeping over.

Last March, I set out a few 4” pots to soften our new work. They’ve taken off like crazy, unmindful of the unamended soil, heat, drought or the brief spurts of drenching rain.

frogfruit on path

I’ve been digging up grass since the day we moved in, since I want a garden full of wildlife. When 2010-2011 took a hard toll on lawns, I lost a lot of the rest, as did many gardeners.

This week on tour, see how Lana & Bob Beyer retrieved their garden with stunning new ideas!

Lawn replace design Lana and Bob Beyer
Here’s how it looked this spring, new plants soon to fill in. Already, they’re seeing more wildlife.

Lawn replace design Lana and Bob Beyer
Director Ed Fuentes had a lot of fun taping this renovation, even though the sun was brutal.

Central Texas Gardener on location with Ed Fuentes
In front, here’s Bob’s shot after they stripped the dead grass.

stripping front yard grass Lana and Bob Beyer
Since their HOA requires some lawn, Lana designed a wineglass shape with buffalograss to draw street-side views into the garden.

front yard makeover Lana and Bob Beyer
On Bob’s Central Texas Gardening website, see his remarkable slide show that documents the process step by step. Really, this is fabulous!

In the awkward curb strip, the Beyers made life easier and more beautiful with gray and green santolina, pink skullcap, and Rock penstemon.

santolina, pink skullcap, rock penstemon
Santolina is a drought-tough evergreen (or ever gray) deer-resistant groundcover. Find out how to grow it as Daphne’s Pick of the Week.

Gray santolina and flowers
Thanks to the rains last winter and a little this summer, our Mexican plum is hanging onto some of its fruit instead of dropping it all prematurely.
The ones at Mueller are totally abundant!

Mexican plum fruit Mueller Austin Texas
Since fall is the best time to plant trees, Tom joins Amanda Moon from It’s About Thyme for some tasty additions.

Tom Spencer and Amanda Moon, It's About Thyme
Her list includes fruiting and ornamental olive trees, including specimen tree ‘Little Ollie.’  Lana and Bob are growing theirs in a pot for now.

'Little Ollie' olive in a pot
Whether olive trees produce fruit or not, I love the silvery leaves. This one’s a tall shade tree in the garden of dear friends Molly and David.

Olive tree

Get Amanda’s list of olives, compact and ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate, Texas persimmon, loquat and figs.

And be sure to check out It’s About Thyme, where Diane and Chris Winslow and a very knowledgeable team guide you to tried-and-true plants, fabulous herbs, and ideas that will astound you and your garden. Sign up for their informative weekly enewsletter, too, for valuable tips from Chris and culinary expert Mick Vann.

Animals dine on the bark of our trees, especially in drought. Viewer Connie Lawson asked what to do about porcupines chomping her new trees. KLRU colleague Robert found squirrels stripping his trees. Will this kill your tree?  Get Daphne’s answer about whether trees will recover, and the best way to protect them.

Since many of us have limited space or limited sunlight, John Dromgoole demonstrates how to plant in containers, for organic food even on a patio, balcony, or driveway.

John Dromgoole vegetables in containers

Get his list of a few tiny plants, including ‘Tom Thumb’ corn for next summer.

Happy planting and I’ll see you next week!  Linda

  1. 6 Responses to “Projects! Reduce lawn makeover! Container vegetables!”

  2. By Sharon Lovejoy on Sep 13, 2012

    Wowowow! Love this makeover.

    Hey Linda, I don’t know what I’d do without all my containers of edibles. They’re a mainstay, the quick-change artists of my garden.

    Sending love,



    Linda reply on September 14th, 2012 2:52 pm:

    Oh, I love that: the quick-changing artists! I’ve got to get busy planting edible containers too!


    Laura Bohls reply on September 15th, 2012 4:06 pm:

    I love following your home project. You have given me a wonderful idea. We too eliminated the grass in our backyard, we placed 2′X 2′ stepping blocks and spaced them apart so we could soften the look with dwarf mondo grass. In some areas the mondo grass has suffered as it gets more sun than it prefers. I am now going to try the frogfruit in those spots – thanks for the inspiration!


    Linda reply on September 16th, 2012 2:08 pm:

    I love the dwarf mondo grass, too!


  3. By Desert Dweller / David C. on Sep 15, 2012

    Enjoyed this episode! Good spot on homeowners discussing their landscape conversion, especially how they *had* to have at least 25% lawn in front. Tough edibles – heard the ‘Sevillano’ Olive took -5F in Las Cruces last Feb with only some tip damage, but others noted did not; might be worth a try down there in z 8?

    And I finally know how to pronounce that species of Santolina, though not sure I could do it *while* Mr. Augie is on my lap – that’s talent! The overwatering problems noted – amen.


    Linda reply on September 15th, 2012 3:03 pm:

    Thanks, David! Yes, Daphne astounds me with her pronunciations!


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