A creative way to replace a front lawn

Lucette Moramarco photo

With the recent shortage of water in Southern California, residents have developed creative ways to replace water-thirsty grass. While some may replace their lawns with artificial turf, others prefer to use succulents and hardscape, like a river of rocks.

Fallbrook resident Jane Carpenter and her husband moved to Fallbrook in 1992. He traveled for his job, so “first thing, I joined the garden club and quilt guild to meet people,” she said.

The Fallbrook Garden Club offers workshops on a variety of plant-related subjects as well as having study groups for succulents and cactus, herbs, and fruit and veggies. They get together to pot plants and to make garden decorations, among other activities.

Carpenter let the grass in her front yard die a couple of years ago with the idea of replacing it with an Italian-styled garden. She soon found out, she said, that using all bricks would be too expensive, so she added rocks to her plan.

Carpenter said it was fun creating her design and she spent a couple of months laying out the main path. Despite not having a lawn to water, her water bill has not gone down, she added.

The path, outlined with bricks, consists of rocks in various colors and sizes that lead to a circular centerpiece made of bricks topped with a collection of bright blue ceramic pots planted with succulents, for a pop of color.

The rocks are held in place by decomposed granite (DG) which is contained in the walkway by the bricks. Carpenter said the rocks came from her favorite supplier, Southwest Boulder in Rainbow. (Fallbrook Garden Club members get a discount there and at other area nurseries too.)

Carpenter also laid out a design with rocks to one side of the path which runs parallel to the driveway, starting from the front porch. The garden also includes a birdbath on a brick base, an archway at each end of the path, and wooden steps leading up to the driveway. Carpenter said she’s been trying to get some succulents to grow on the slope, with little luck.

Adding some green to the garden are a staghorn fern hanging in the trees to one side and a variety of succulents planted in the ground. There is room for more additions when she decides what else she wants to put there. “It’s a hobby,” Carpenter said, so “it is still a work in progress.”

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