Blog

A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

A Garden without Grass: Landscaping for people like me

Try as I may, I do not have a green thumb.  I love being out in nature; I love sitting in a beautiful garden or park, just taking in all the greenery and fresh air. Despite my affinity for such places, it's a real struggle for me to keep things looking lush and healthy in my own garden, which is why I was so drawn to this little space. I snapped a few photos of this garden, nestled outside the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Designer Showhouse I visited last weekend.  

[quick aside: I just had to include this photo of the house itself because I LOVED the cedar shake roof and the dark stained wood of the exterior! Plus, it makes the plants surrounding it really pop!]

Upon first glance, this garden seems rather simple, with a few planting beds, a gravel walkway and a couple benches. What I liked about it was that it wasn't very fussy. In fact, it seemed like something I could actually achieve in my own backyard [well, maybe...]. The development the house is located in, Serenbe, has strict guidelines with what they'll allow planted in and around their homes.  Their push is towards native plants; plants that will thrive naturally and that will help preserve the local ecology. 

At Serenbe, your traditional grass lawn is strictly prohibited, which I found fascinating. I recently went to a talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden [I'm seriously trying to work on that green thumb here!] and they had similar things to say: grass requires an insane amount of water and upkeep, and typically forces all kinds of chemicals and pesticides into our water from run off. Grass doesn't help any of the native plants and animals thrive, and doesn't serve much purpose other than to provide a place for kids to run around [or dogs to dig up in my case!]. 

IMG_0210.jpg

But since I'm so lucky to live just a stones throw from Piedmont Park, one of the largest expanses of grassy areas in Atlanta, do I really need a massive lawn in my backyard? Probably not. So my plan is to take the advice from places like Serenbe and ABG, and try my hand at this sort of garden: one that features native plants that should be able to live even under the harshest conditions [yes, being in my garden would constitute the harshest conditions], and keep my grass use to a minimum.  

Anyway, who needs grass when you have breathtaking trees like this one? Don't ask me how this tree is growing the way it is.  It's a massive wood sculpture that I can't quite understand, but I love.  So here's to embracing native trees and plants, and to starting a garden that helps my local ecology [and hopefully can stay alive under my supervision!].