Saturday, July 14, 2012

Santa Fe Yards

Juniper and Chimisa (probably among other things) hiding the semi-circular driveway.
Whilst in Santa Fe, it became pretty obvious (at least in the art district - I can't really speak to any other area), that grass in yards was uncommon.  My husband paid attention more than I did and said that of all the places we walked by, only 2 had grass.  It was a good experience because he's been telling me for a while that yards can't look good in a "normal" setting if they don't have grass ('normal' means living in a house and you can easily walk from your front door to your neighbor's front door in less than 2 minutes).
While I think yards without grass look perfectly fine, I do believe that it's much more difficult to have your grass-less yard look apropos and be accepted by the neighbors when you're the only one on the block to have no grass.  But he claims that it is totally all about the grass - so to have him say afterward that the grass-less yards looked good (nay, better) than the grassed yards is a major step forward in my plans to remove even more of our lawn in the future.  (Also, and slightly related, I can't wait for Pam Penick's "Lawn Gone" book to come out next year)

Shawn taking a breather at one of the two yards with grass.

I was actually surprised by how many plants I knew, but of course there were still plenty that I didn't recognize (naturally, all of those pictures are out of focus).  It seemed like day lillies were very common, as well as California/Mexican poppies and hollyhocks.  Not super common: cacti.  Surprising.  To me at least.  Of course there were places that used annual plantings in pots for color.

A picture of Shawn taking a breather - again.

Obviously, wide paths were very popular (I would suspect they'd have to be when you're running an art gallery out of a house).  My sister took more pictures than I did of plants and yards and art and everything, so hopefully she'll post some of them somewhere in a public-type forum so I can link to them.

A good use of Iris.  I don't remember any other places using iris, or if they did it was an iris plant here or there, not any groupings like this.

Almost all of the yards were walled in with adobe walls - they weren't necessarily tall (at most 4'), but they did make everything seem much more like "This is my little space and I will do with it what I see fit."  Which I think allowed for all sorts of different plants and designs.  I don't know why, but I figure it's a little tougher to make yards look like they fit in when you're having to account for what your neighbors are doing as well - for example, thinking back and realizing that there were only 2 yards with grass, it would be very easy for the grassed yards to look out of place when they're surrounded by non-grass yards, but I didn't even notice them, which just means I was looking at each yard as a clean slate.  And I think that is directly attributable to the walls separating each of the lots.

One of the few places that had something out for the birds (a disappearing fountain).  Naturally, it's a piece of artwork and is for sale.

I was very impressed by the amount of flowers planted along driveways and alleys.  It was almost like "I have 1' x 5' of space - I can plant stuff here!"  These types of locations are where most of the hollyhocks and California poppies were.
An alleyway with the ever popular branch fence.  My Grandma told my sister and me about how she used to make dolls out of hollyhocks as a kid.

If you care to look at all the other photos from the trip, you can view the Carlsbad Caverns/Guadalupe Mountains photos, and the pictures of the family in Santa Fe.


Lancashire rose said...

Some lovely grass less gardens. It is just a matter of getting it right.

Pam/Digging said...

I love those hollyhocks against adobe walls -- so beautiful. You're right that going lawnless is easier to achieve with a walled-off yard (not to mention a smaller yard). One trick we can do here in Austin with our larger suburban yards is to fence or wall off the part closer to the house (even a low retaining wall works), creating an intimate courtyard effect, with lawn or easy-care ornamental grasses or sedges blending in with the neighbors' yards closer to the street.

Pam/Digging said...

And I forgot to add, thanks so much for the mention of my book!

Morgan said...

I am determined to get the "lawn" out of my yard. I grew up in AZ where no one had a lawn and I have hated lawns all my life. Boring, uncreative, lifeless, horrid! I cant stand 'em. We are living in suburban hell with our little square of wretched snagglegrass, its driving me crazy! I ripped out the square fraken-hedges and replaced with native and adapted plants so now I have bees and butterflies and such in the yard at least. We are thinking of doing the bull fencing and then trying to get rid of the grass entirely. I will be the only one on the block, but if i can do it right and make it look pretty maybe I wont be the only one for long.