The yard, that is…
Five thousand square feet of lawn now looks like this:
We have about 200 baby plants, all (or most) native to California. They can live without extra watering, even in drought conditions. It remains to be seen whether or not they can live in our care. We’ll do our best to not kill them. I’m not sure how clear the picture is, but all those rocks in left photo make up a “rain catchment system,” i.e., a creek bed. If it ever fills with water, I’ll post a picture of that. There’s a smaller one in the front yard too, and both have a rock fountain. See the big boulder on the left? Here’s a closeup:
The fountains are run on solar power, so they only work when the sun hits the solar panel near the boulder. It’s kind of funny to watch it on a cloudy day like today – it stops running the second the sun goes behind a cloud, then back at it as soon as the sun comes out. It’s a bit disappointing that we can’t store power to run it in cloudy weather, but really – the birds and insects will appreciate it on hot summer days.
The path in the back yard is decomposed granite – the latest thing in eco-hardscape. It’s basically just dirt packed so tight that it forms a cement-like texture. It stays porous though, so water can seep through to the ground.
When I get a chance, I’ll try to highlight a few of the plants and talk about their place in the ecosystem. If you consider that these plants evolved along with the wildlife in the area, you realize that they thrive when allowed to be together. Our modern cities and suburbs have destroyed that balance. Gardens like this are one way to bring it back.