I tore up my thirsty lawn for something better
I fell hard for gardening in my early 20's. I had just fled too-urban New York City for a rental house in Oakland, and was thrilled by the trees and space and flowers. My first garden was teeny, just a patch of dirt out front. But 30 years later I had a house and a yard divided into what I consider rooms, which means each section has its own feel.
If you stroll down a path under an arbor, you come to a patio and a curving lawn bordered by flower beds. The lawn was my husband's idea. He loves it and wanted it for the kids. But the kids are now in their 20s and 30s, and I've never been a fan of dedicating so much yard to grass. It makes the flower beds feel far away from the patio where we sit, and it's space that could be put to good use growing food and flowers. Besides, lawns are thirsty and we live in the drought-ravaged Bay Area.
I wondered if a compromise was possible, and shared a plan with my husband. And that was the beginning of our yard makeover.
The problem: A too-Thirsty lawn
Step One: Frame the beds
step two: lay out the plants
step three: smother the weeds
Step four: feed your soil
A plant bed, with room to grow
Mila Holt owned a television production company specializing in creating series for the HGTV and DIY networks. Her series included Color Splash, Curb Appeal, Landscape Smart, and Grow It: A Gardener's Guide. She lives, and gardens, in Oakland, California.