In 2021, when we moved from SF to Santa Rosa, we were very excited to have a place of our own to dig in the earth. Never having lived in a neighborhood, I could have cared less about “curb appeal” and was focused on my dream garden in the backyard. I quickly learned from my diligent husband that curb appeal was very important in giving a good impression to friendly, albeit gossipy neighbors. 🙂
Our first season, it was already in the upper 90’s by Memorial Day and it was obvious that whatever we put in for our first garden needed to be able to withstand periods of time with little to no water.
We researched perennial plants that are native to the area or thrived in a mediterranean climates. We found out that, yes, even drought resistant plants need a good amount of water their first season, but once they are established they really take care of themselves.
The first gardening project we attempted was the “hell strip” between our sidewalk and the road in front of our house. This little patch of dirt had been completely forgotten (it seemed like for years) so we pulled out all the weeds, added new soil and laid out a series of plants. These were mainly affordable plants from Lowes or local nurseries: English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), purple verbena, Russian Sage, pink rock purslane, and eyebrow grass.
We gave them a good amount of space to spread and 2 years later – spread they have! They’ve more than tripled in size and many cases bloom twice a year or have long growing seasons. Now we don’t water them at all and they are perfectly happy ~ a sustainable and aesthetic way to garden!
What our curb garden looked like when we moved in.