In a block of grass, DIY drowned a drought-resistant oasis grass

Long before the Southern California Metropolitan Water District declared a state of emergency and ordered outdoor watering once a week, eager gardener Sarah Larryvier was thinking of ways to save water.

During the epidemic Young adult author She and her husband were inspired by a long walk in the Burbank camp. It is not the endless series of green grass that moves her, but the occasional drought-stricken landscape in the middle of the lawn.

“I grew up in the Midwest, so I was drawn to the grasslands,” says the 46-year-old. “I love the wild look of the colorful wildflowers.”

After a three-year drought in California, Larryvier decided to educate herself about water gardening. She has personally studied California native plants for wildflowers and native plants at the Theodore Payne Foundation. She consulted a Soccer Water Smart website, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to change your lawn using drought-resistant options. She took an online course on lawn mowers taught by Green Garden Group Virtual Teachers. When she found out that the residents of Burbank would ask for up to three shade trees for her home, she researched which trees were best suited to the mild climate.

Sarah Larrier in her front yard, which already had a lawn.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

After first renting another place in Burbank, Larryvier and her husband, Tim Map, moved in. In March 2021, they bought a 1940 bungalow. At that moment, Larviver felt that they were ready to clear the lawn and raise the water level.

“The purpose of the garden is to increase biodiversity, conserve water, provide shelter for butterflies and birds, and enjoy the aroma and beauty of indigenous plants, trees and flowers,” she said.

The grass in front of the house

Front grass, before removal.

(Sarah Larrier)

One month after the couple bought their home, they picked up some Bermuda grass. “We used shovels and forks,” she says. “Sometimes we have to water it because we have to get rid of it. I was not lying, he was backward. They used to live in Texas and tried to roll the sheets there, but “the grass came out in a carton.

The couple eventually included nearly 2,500 square feet of lawn, front lawn, parking lot, and garden. In the heat of the summer, the couple rented a home depot for $ 97 a day to help the couple finally get the job done.

She soon felt the weeds, but soon she was living in a grassy area, and she was happy to know that her neighbors were nothing.

“We’ve got a lot of neighbors who want to know how to clear our lawn,” she said. “They always stop and say nice things. It was very encouraging. ”

And later: Drought-resistant native plants replaced the thirsty grass.

And later: Drought-resistant native plants replaced the thirsty grass.

(Sarah Larrier)

After consulting with the Socal Water Smart website and planning to install it, Larviver offered a lawn mower discount to the Southern California Metropolitan Water District.

The landscaping project was completed in six months, and Larviver said she received a $ 4,700 discount check shortly after the Southern California Metropolitan Water District representative went out to assess her property. The check was paid for the entire project, excluding handmade Mexican flooring in Colorado de Mexico, east of Los Angeles.

“I was so excited,” she says. “I have a long-term interest in gardens and landscapes and I am very happy to have so much space to play. I do not say it didn’t take long. But it was fun.”

Front yard

The front yard and parking lot are mostly filled with California native plants.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

In the courtyard, Larviver paved a sidewalk paved with yellow Arizona flagstone and planted mostly California natives. Friida Kahlo-Isk painted blue-black.

A view of the front yard of Sarah Larryvir's house in Burbank

Indigenous plants grow near the gravel-covered dry river.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

On the Parking Streets, before the gourds followed the plants, she planted Theodore Payne, a beeswax, along the roadside, a wildflower mixed with white sage, rock urns, germander sage, and snow.

The backyard is a mix of random, indigenous, small, and food crops, with tomatoes and leafy greens in two galvanized metal basins (huge bottom) (removed to create soil contact with sticks, manure and compost). To attract native insects, she spreads a variety of wildflower seeds from Theodore Payne: # 1 rainbow mix, # 2 shady mix and # 6 roadside mix showcases flowers in vibrant colors, shapes and textures.

Helps to hold large beds made of sticks, chicken manure, soil, compost and leaves and supply water to neighboring plants. Many small fruit trees, including cumin, bear lime, meer lime, satsuma mandarin, pineapple guava, and Buddha hand citrus, add beauty and fruit. The beach oak, which she designed and built next to the circular fire pit she eventually built, will eventually become a shade during the hot summer days of Burbank.

Gilil's proximity to Sarah Larryvier's backyard in Burbank

Substitutes and cactus grow in the giant.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)


The giant in the backyard holds rainwater and provides water and shade to neighboring plants.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

More than 25 trucks from the Burbank ከተማ Freemill program ሪ Larviver helps keep the soil moist with the rocky and rocky riverbanks. When it rained in December, she was delighted with the river surface she had built according to California’s friendly and watertight landscape guide. Did what it was designed to do: Grab rainwater from the roof.

Looking forward to the addition of a lariver gray water purification system, watering young fruit trees, watering for wildlife without encouraging mosquitoes, painting concrete walls and one day, when all is said and done, I hope to open her garden to others as part of Tewodros. Payne’s annual botanical garden tour.

Larryvier’s garden is a colorful and delightful block of grass. It is proof that you can have a beautiful garden without using too much water.

Photo of Sarah Larryvier in her backyard

“I have learned that I like violence a little bit,” Larryvier said. “I prefer to throw away something I like and I prefer not to worry too much about the plan. The garden reflects that.”

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

“I’m amazed at how much water we drink,” she says. When it rained in December, the rain provided enough water for the wildflowers to grow. “I monitor all new plants to make sure they are safe. Now that it is hot, I try to do each section once every 10 days. This means we have three water days. If it is a tree or one of the natives, I try to keep it for 20 minutes.

Of course, not everyone is going to give up their favorite lawns. Still, Larvier hopes that her hometown oasis will encourage other low-income options.

“I have never lost sight of the fact that there is a garden,” she said as she pulled out some weeds from her garden. “In general, I learned that I like a little chaos. I prefer to throw only what I like and not worry too much about the plan. The garden reflects that. It is beautiful, and we can all enjoy the bees, butterflies and birds. It looks ‘snow white’ outside here.

Have you pruned your grass and replaced it with drought-tolerant plants? We want to hear from you.

Monkey flowers

Bush monkey flower.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

Native plants used in this garden

  • Canyon Sunflowers, Venagasia carpacioids (Quick, polite, happy to set up)
  • The desert globe, Sphaeralcea ambigua (Continued growing since October)
  • The fragrant sage, Leprosy fragrances (Blue smells, sprouts fast, thick leaves)
  • Apache Plum, Fallugia paradox (Shrub with amazing feathers and beautiful white flowers)
  • Allan Chickering Wise, Salvia ‘Alan Chickering’ (Fast-growing, beautiful purple wreath)
  • White Wise, Salvia Apiana
  • Chapral Clarkia, Clarkia Afinis (Long hot pink, orange-pink, red and white wildflowers)
  • Penstemon (Margarita, Black, Firecracker and many more)
  • Monkey flower, Diplax Aurantias
    (Yellow, Orange, Red and Variety)
  • Tori pine tree, Pinus Torreana SPP torreyana
  • California fuchsias, Epilobium canum (Red and Salmon)
  • Wise Men (Cleveland Wise, Salvia Clevelandy;
    Amethyst Bluff Sage, Salvia Lucophila ‘Amethyst Blue’ ; And Shirley Cripper Wise, Salvia Sherley Crepe)
  • Trees (Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia And beach live oak, Quercus agripolia)
Portrait of Sarah Larryvier at her home in Burbank

Author Sarah Larviver created a wild low oasis near the mechanized grasslands.

(Maria Towger / Los Angeles Times)

Useful water gardening resources

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