Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Used To Have a Lawn, Now I Have a Sanctuary

I am honored to write the first post for Lawn Reform's 'I used to have
a lawn' blog contest. I'm glad to share my blissfully lawn-free garden existence, and hope you will too!
When I was designing my back yard, someone suggested I put a lawn here. Insisted, in fact. Since he was my landlord and paying for it, I didn't have much choice. So I simply stalled the project until the house was mine, then did exactly as I pleased.

No doubt you are getting thoroughly tired of the Red Umbrella, but we'll start there to orient you for the rest of the tour.

The view from under the Red Umbrella. I have spent a lot of time contemplating my fountain this summer. It uses MUCH less water
than the equivalent in sprinkler gazing.

At the center of things is a simple paver patio. There used to be lawn here too, before my time. I would much rather go sit out in the middle of the yard on a starry, starry night without getting my socks wet, wouldn't you?

Around the patio are sturdy evergreen shrubs accented by grasses.
My cats find this kind of garden MUCH more entertaining than turf (which gets their feet wet too!)

In the sunny corner of the garden I have vegetable boxes where I grow herbs, apples, tomatoes, pomegranates, peppers and wildflowers in a rather casual way. I guess I could make some nice compost from a lawn...but I simply want more.

There are lots of dry little corners, perfect for succulents. This is the kind of edging I like.

Just because it's a paved, doesn't mean it isn't a garden. Buddha
sits on the step next to my office door. The succulents do get watered...occasionally.

Shade-loving plants in glazed pots cluster in a sheltered corner of the patio. They enjoy regular water, but almost never need mowing.

Outdoor space can be used in so many ways, it seems a shame to dedicate so much of it to lawn out of...habit. Especially in a dry summer climate like California. But things are changing, and my clients are losing their lawns by the yard...and gaining so much more.

I toast this trend with satisfaction (and dry feet) from my sanctuary under the Red Umbrella.

Congratulations on your launch, Lawn Reform, long may you wave!

To participate in the Lawn Reform Blog Contest, simply write a post on your blog that completes the statement: “I used to have a lawn, but now I have…”
  • You can answer in words, pictures or both.
  • Links to previous posts are welcome.
  • If you but dream of a future with less lawn, feel free to complete “I still have a lawn, but one day I’ll have a…”
  • Once you have posted, go visit Susan Morrison at Blue Planet Gardening and sign it up using the Mr. Linky widget.
  • On September 30, Susan will post the randomly drawn winners and share highlights.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Lawn Reform website and download a badge for your blog!


  1. Laura, I've had the pleasure of visiting your sanctuary in person and chatting under the red umbrella (not to mention arguing over which movie version of Mr Darcy reigns supreme!). I love spending time in your serene space and the delightful photos in this post make me realize there are still hidden corners still to be discovered.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is amazing! So much prettier than a lawn. Where we used to have a lawn we now have a pond.

  3. Laura: exquisite garden and wonderfully photographed. So happy to have you helping out with our new Lawn Reform Coalition website effort. I know where my first stop will be next time I head north.

  4. Amazing! Looks so inviting and peaceful. Glad you stalled on that lawn.