Remodeling and Home Design

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    « Fearless Color - Keeyla Meadows Garden | Main | Wordless Wednesday: Marcia Donahue's Garden »


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    Thomas Rainer

    Gorgeous photos! The before and after of the one property is mighty convincing. It's great you pointed out how to install them cost effectively. Budget matters, right?

    Always! Doesn't seem to matter what the installation budget is - $10,000 or $100,000 - it almost always needs to be stretched.

    rebecca sweet

    Wow - that Linanthus grandiflorus is a new one to me! Love that flower! And thanks for the reminder about checking into city rebates - I never remember to do that and since I'm hoping to remove my front lawn someday soon this is a great tip!!

    The rebates can make a difference - some are as high as $2000 depending on the project. I got such a big rebate when I installed an ET controller (you've written about them before, right?) in the end it only cost $25.

    Mary Gray

    Awesome. This is an inspiration to homeowners with a limited budgets who want to take on these projects. I think it's important to spread the word that folks don't need to hire expensive designers and builders to make incredible transformations...with a little education and research, it is within their reach.

    I agree. Even though I make my living as a designer, I do volunteer work with my community, much of it spent educating homeowners on best practices. I love spreading the word that beautiful, sustainable gardens are within everyone's reach, and that professional help comes in all budget ranges.

    Town Mouse

    I'm so impressed by what some of the home owners do! I myself had to get some guys to do the digging for me ;->

    Great photos. Love the Phacelia seedheads in the last photo.

    No question you are the natives expert, not me. Had to go back and look at my own photos again to figure out where the Phacelia seedheads were. :-)


    Cardboard is definitely better than newspaper. I've used newspaper and it tends to make a mess, scraps of paper scatter, and holes open up for the weeds to grow through.

    Thanks for commenting, Jason! I agree, although I have used newspaper successfully when I'm sheet mulching around a small part of an existing garden. In those instances, cardboard isn't flexible enough.

    Robert Webber

    Hi Susan,
    The how is of course really vital.
    Lots of tips here and money saving is so important now. Even our well healed clients are watching it more closely!
    Great stuff!
    Thanks and Best

    Yes, we have our recessionistas on this side of the pond as well.


    Susan, Wow, what an amazing transformation. I might have missed it in your post but I'm wondering what Diane's neighbors think of her new front garden since I imagine her 'before' is probably the norm not the exception.

    Good question, and one I didn't think to ask. It probably helps with neighbor relations that she is part of such a well-attended, enthusiastic garden tour. Seeing that others appreciate the untraditional design might make it more palatable.

    Landscape Contractor

    She did an amazing transformation! From something boring to a thriving and colorful garden.

    Nothing like the drama of a good before and after to make the point.


    It's always inspiring to see what someone can accomplish on a limited budget, and this is a great example. I bet she enjoys her native garden every time she walks outside or drives up to the house -- so much better than a lawn desert!

    Scott Weber

    Great post...and you've reminded me that I need to give Penstemon a try. I see them in parking strips all around town looking amazing with so little effort.

    Scott Hokunson

    Budget, Budget, Budget! Over the last several years this has become the most popular theme in design, no? What a great transformation, and the process she went through to achieve is very inspiring. I wish more folks here looked into classes and help from designers. It seems you have so many more resources for homeowners in your area. I will have to do a little research around here to see if that is actually the case. Fun post, Thanks!

    Desert Dweller / David C.

    Communicating with / convincing a client to be patient, using lower water-use natives well, and helping them look for opportunities, tied into the budgetary constraints (clients happily deliver), can really be a great marriage.

    Odd, but all I know who do not do that are not very busy in the down economy.

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