Saturday, May 15, 2010

Outdoor activities

We've been hard at work outside for the past several days. My pet project is the development of perennial beds instead of a lawn in the front yard. There's a chronic water shortage in California, and keeping grass green is really expensive and kind of politically incorrect. The water department has limitations on adding new turf to a landscape, and pays a nice amount per square foot to homeowners who take out their lawns.

So last fall we scattered a wildflower seed mix over the area, and now we have seedlings appearing. We're aiming for native plants, specifically ones suited to a xeriscape (low water) garden. I spent many hours identifying the wildflower sprouts that are beginning to appear -- lots of yarrow, lupines, columbine and poppies so far -- and then marked out tentative flower beds with bricks. The beds are kind of random and natural, based on where the seedlings seem to be thriving. I'm thinking "meadow." We'll have to see how everything develops as the summer progresses.

Also ... beginning Monday morning a crew will be here for exterior painting! This climate is pretty harsh, and the paint weathers and peels quickly on wood houses -- every few years it needs to be scraped down and redone, and this house is overdue. We've chosen a barn red for the house this time, with white trim and black shutters -- I'll bet the change from gray to red will have everyone in the neighborhood buzzing :) We decided that the vintage-farmhouse-style architecture would be shown off nicely in red, and it will look good in all four seasons, against the trees and also against the snow. Tony's been prepping and getting everything cleared out of the painters' way. It should take three or four weeks for them to do the whole thing.



QuiltingFitzy said...

The new color scheme will be PERFECT!! Can't wait to see it.

Congrats on responsible gardening, it takes more effort at first, but requires less maintainance afterward. We have about 6'x 10' grass and the rest stone..I love it! A tiny bit to preen over and LOTS to ignore.

Alice said...

Grey to red! I hope you will show us a pic of that.

AnnieO said...

We're contemplating taking out the lawn on one side of our driveway and putting in natives or Meditteranean variety to cut down on our water use. The change from green lawn to low water use garden should be happening at a quicker pace in this state I think!

Love the wild meadow idea and the barn red house. Looking forward to seeing the striking results.

Meggie said...

Your gardens are sure to charm. I love the random look of gardens such as yours. It is how nature planned it all.
Good luck with your painting progress.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I knew someone who had their washing machine rigged up so they could switch it so the rinse water would go outside to the plant "irrigation" area. It was a great idea in a low water area! Have you looked at color stain - it looks almost like paint, but is stain so you don't have to go through all the scraping - when the color fades a bit after a few years, just add more stain! I had a house with gray color stain and white color stain trim - very low maintenance! Oh - and I had neighbors talking when I turned a white house into a pink one with sage trim (but it was a historically correct color so the "hysterical" society could not block the job. Good luck with all your projects! Cheers! Evelyn