My Great Outdoors: Christel's Front and Backyard Makeover

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Name: Christel and Chris

Location: Los Feliz, CA

Type of space: Front yard, side yard, back patio

How did you do it?: For years, our front yard was filled with overgrown, 'thirsty' and uninteresting plants. For us, it was important to design a low-water, low-maintenance and modern garden. We already had a big lawn, and getting rid of some sprinklers was ideal for both the water bill and the environment. We ripped out all the plants, capped all the sprinklers, and put in drought-tolerant plants that would thrive on full sun and low water. Then, we covered it all with gravel (for a clean modern look and to keep the weeds down) and some well-placed boulders. Plants were planned with their full-growth size in mind and should grow in nicely...

For the back patio, we wanted to create intimate areas for entertaining. The amount of red slate paving could make the area seem arid and dry, so we wanted to bring in enough green to create a lush environment. Here, tropical 'thirsty' plants would be fine since they would be in containers which retain water. Plants were chosen for their interesting form and color. Black is our theme color, which is carried through the color of the rattan chairs, containers, lava rock and plant foliage. Bright red containers are used for accent and compliment the slate tiles.

Our side yard is our vegetable garden, with many garden beds, and a trellis made out of an old mattress. We ripped off the outer fabric and detached the metal frame and springs from the wood frame. With the wood frame, we made posts and with the metal frame and springs, we built the trellis for the hanging fruit. This garden is my father-in-laws pride and joy and he has grown many of these vegetables from seed. Apparently, in Filippino culture, hanging bottles in your garden is necessary to scare away the bad garden spirits (ie. bugs and bad luck). Then we gave it a nice orange coat of paint to match the house. So far this season, we've eaten fresh green beans and lettuce. The tomatos and squash will soon be ripe enough to eat.

Recommended store, site, product or resource?

  • Sunset Blvd Nursery (Plants)
  • 4368 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90029 - (323) 661-1642
  • Bourget Brothers (Gravel)
  • 1636 11th St Santa Monica, CA 90404 - (310) 450-6556
  • La Canada Rustic Stone (Boulders)
  • 1385 Lincoln Ave Pasadena, CA 91103 - (818) 790-5543
  • International Garden Center (Plants and Containers)
  • 155 N Sepulveda Blvd, El Segundo - (310) 322-2886

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