Front yard plans

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As you may remember, we had to remove a diseased, old avocado tree in our front yard last year (RIP Avocado). Since the avocado was removed we have had some pretty hot, dry and wet (summer rains!?) weather. Needless to say, the loss of the tree has had a big impact on the front yard. Most of the plants on the east side of the yard have really crisped in the heat – and no amount of water seems to help. In fact, water makes it worse since these are CA natives. I think that the coffeeberry  (Frangula californica), front foundation shrubs, will fill out again – hoping anyway. Ditto with the wild strawberry groundcover and the coral bells.

The loss of the tree gave me a nice sunny spot to grow tomatoes and they were very tasty. But tomatoes are not a beautiful landscape plant and the front yard looks pretty sparse and dry, especially with the tomato plants gone.

garden tomatoes
My granddaughter loves the cherry tomatoes best. My grandson spits them out.

In addition to the front yard problem, the forecast of the rainiest El Niño in forever is making me a bit nervous. There isn’t a whole lot I can do but I do want to try to divert some of the runoff from our roof into garden rather than having it rush out to the street. I know that the area I am thinking of using as a rain basin is small, but I think it may be pretty and I will feel better anyway. So, enter the backyard former raised vegetable garden.

backyard garden
Formerly used as a raised vegetable garden in backyard. Now with the sun in the front and forecast of apocalyptic rains coming, it will be a retention basin.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but digging out the soil and moving to the front yard where the avocado tree roots and wood chips are decomposing is a bit of a job. So I decided to enlist the help of people with younger, stronger backs.

Kids helping me dig out raised vegetable bed. We have got a ways to go and my back hasn't been appreciating this kind of work.
Kids helping me dig out raised vegetable bed. We have got a ways to go and my back hasn’t been appreciating this kind of work.
Like I said, we have a ways to go. Get to work!
Like I said, we have a ways to go. Get to work!

Maybe this is not such a good idea. Well, after discussing it with my husband, he suggested I do something that is always hard for me – hire someone! My biggest problem with this is that I rarely plan anything very carefully. Things kind of unfold – not the ideal way to design a landscape. But this is a fairly big job for me so I got out some paper and made a plan.

Plans for edible garden with native plants in front yard.
Plans for a vegetable/herb garden with native plants in front yard. Comments? Suggestions?
Herb garden
Front yard herb garden. Things are looking kind of brown – even for me. I plant to plan more deergrass, etc. in this part. The treacherous log path will become flagstones.
Carting soil from back to front.
Carting soil from back to front.
Carting soil from back to front.
Carting soil from back to front. Tomatoes are gone, one pepper plant remains. I gotta get someone else to do this work!

 

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