Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Operation "No Mo' Grass", Phase I: sod removal and limestone paver path

I've been contemplating (for what seems like forever) removal of the St. Augustine on the left side of the house, and planting lots of drought-tolerant stuff.

The tipping-point was my trip to Phoenix back in February: I was stunned by the beauty of the cacti, agaves, and aloes.

An elegant and sculptural Palo Verde on the grounds of our hotel

The Desert Botanical Garden

Organ Pipe cactus

Octopus cactus (Stenocereus alamosensis)

Argentine Giant cactus (Echinopsis candicans)

Unknown cactus
Aloes and lavender on the hotel grounds

Unknown aloe, with 'Blue Flame' in the background?

Aloes at the Desert Botanical Garden

Blue Glow agave, lining the driveway to the hotel.

Agave 'Blue Glow' collage
I came home to Austin wanting to re-create all of it in my sunniest, hottest spot.

My sticking point has been the drainage situation: you might recall that it's the side of the house where all the water runs from the back yard to the street (see posts here and here). I didn't want to plant a bunch of really cool xeric stuff only to watch it rot.

I mentally debated a dry creek bed leading from the gate to the street, but then someone explained to me that I'd need to pull all the rocks out every 5 years or so, re-trench it sorta-kinda, and put all the rocks back? Um, no.

I finally decided that maybe if I put down big, wide, flat pavers the water could just run over those and I'd never have to worry about sediment build-up on/under them. Not sure if that's sound logic, but it's the logic I went with because it gave me justification for buying big, wide, flat pavers.

I pinned by brains out on Pinterest to get design ideas (what the heck did we DO before that??), emailed my landscaping guy like 30 times with different paver patterns (okay, three times), and then, with my tax refund check in hand (virtually speaking), it was time.


Getting rid of the stupid floppy hated shrubs
Daisy inspecting their work

My only regret is choosing 1/2 inch granite to fill in between the pavers. It. Goes. Everywhere.

I'm a little nervous that it's too high to really direct the water to the street, but I guess we'll find out!

Phase II: plants!


  1. It looks great, and even better in person. How's it holding up amid all the rain this week?

  2. Thanks Pam! It did pretty well! I took your suggestion and created little hills for planting the Agaves and Yucca in the bed next to the house, and I think it saved them so THANK YOU!

    I still saw standing water on the side of the house inside of the gate, but nothing is going to fix that except gutters. There was a lot of standing water right outside the gate (where those potted plants are in the shot directly above), and I am wondering if it came from the back? But it could also have been due to Neighbor Steve's poor drainage situation. Time (and more monsoons) will tell!