Drought-Scaping. Faux Riverbed and Conspiracy to Kill a Lawn
This is the 2nd installment of my occasional series on coping with the drought and saving enough water to maintain a nice orchid collection in greenhouses.
We got started on accumulating the storage vessels to save the “greenwater” to dripline that into the rest of the yard. Water from greenhouse 1 will be kept for the south side of the front yard. This brings us to this weekend’s work. Part of the new front yard is a faux riverbed. It also meant digging up a number of old sprinklers to cap them off. So I picked a spot near one of our rain chains for the head of the river and traced out a lazy curve about a yard wide all the way to the corner sidewalk. So I got the right shovel. sharpened it up and scraped off most of the crabgrass/lawn within this curve.
The river will be dug out, lined with permeable weed cloth, laced with Preen (weed inhibitor), and lined with rocks, aka “river rocks”. Rainwater from part of the roof will get soaked into much more of the front yard than previously. That water ran into the ground right up against the house. When we get a serious downpour, the water will run down the rocks to the curb.
The lawn on the left of the river will all be removed. All those sprinklers shut down and capped pending hookup to driplines. Eventually the lawn to the right as well.
But lots of river work still to do. I need to till that ground to soften it, dig out about a foot deep down the middle and build up a berm along the edges. Then chose how to line the edges. Maybe certain flowering plants, maybe some large rocks. Not sure yet, but because we face four lanes of 45mph (yeah right, more like 60mph) traffic and a corner, we plan on some quite sizeable boulders in the front yard as well. Details include what to do with the dug-out soil. If it’s gonna be berms, how to stabilize it? Keep it beautiful?
To be able to get some reimbursement from the city for removing lawns there are a bunch of rules. One of them is to use California native drought-tolerant plants only. Another is drip water only. So we plan to obey all the rules. More to follow on that later. For now, it’s cold beer time.