As a sideline, we dabble in landscaping, outdoor lighting and water features.   Here we have a wonderful transformation of a front yard which previously consisted of a 'lawn-in-trouble' and a narrow sidewalk access to the backyard.  Look just below for the 'Before' pictures.

The main objectives were to lower water useage, create a more useable and inviting space in the side yard, and ease the need for a lawn service.   In a day when water is again a precious resource and we are hearing more about water rationing in our area, this was a timely choice.  The new landscape not only uses much less water than the lawn, but gives a return on investment from the assorted fruit trees, cut flowers and edibles included in the design.

This view from the front porch shows the innovative concrete pad arrangement that escorts guests around to the new courtyard created along the side of the house.   The previous sidewalk was barely 2' wide and precluded 'single file' procession to the festivities often taking place in the backyard.   The new landscape gives ample space for walking with a visual feast along the way.

A selection of plants was used that maintain their shape and size without excessive pruning or maintenance.   The bold use of hardscape gives a spacious yet refined elegance to the project.   The creative walkway not only reduces the amount of landscape requiring water, but is spaced so that rain and irrigation water can soak back into the earth rather than end up as more runoff.   Low, walkable ground covers of 'Elfin' thyme and Herniaria glabra were planted between pavers.

Spacious access was needed to facilitate the use of the backyard entertaining area. Consequently, the ample pathway widens to create a welcoming courtyard.  An added benefit derived from this courtyard design is expanded use of the home's wrap-around porch.

Trellises were created to disguise the existing fence and frame the potted Japanese maple, focal point of the new courtyard.   With the neighbor's giant fir tree providing an airy 'roof', guests are greeted in this grand entryway to the cozy entertainment area just beyond the gate.  Mandevilla vines will fill in the wire mesh in time and add their fragrance to the welcome.