Lee Delaney
Lee Delaney
  • Hometalker
  • Redding, CA

Changing It Out/saving Water

4 Materials
6 Weeks

My wife and I had talked about converting the lawn in the back yard to xeriscaping for several years. Over the last 4 years, California has experienced a terribly deep drought. This plus the California Turf Replacement Rebate Program provided the spark for us to undertake it last fall.
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Looking east. Back yard before make over. The grass had died because we had to cut way back on watering due to the deep drought in northern California. Note the circular brick patio in the foreground that I had built it several years ago.
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Looking west from the pergola. Preparing the beds for the pathways. I laid and leveled 4 inches of sand in the trenches to lay the bricks on. This and laying the bricks were the hardest parts of the project and the most time consuming.
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Laying the bricks in the pathways. Kudos to my wife, she laid at least 75% of the bricks! Sorry I don't have pictures of laying the weed block cloth and placing the landscaping rocks on that. I also converted the lawn sprinkling station completely to drip irrigation. It supports the new drought tolerant plants and one tree in the project area as well as the bushes around the edge. Note circular brick patio in the background.
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Looking west after transition to xeriscaping. Note the boulders in the foreground. There is a slope here and the boulders are necessary to keep the landscape rock from sliding downhill when walked upon. The raised planters on the right side existed before the project. But we built the pathway in between them and down the slope. The landscape rocks are black lava and "salt and pepper rock".
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Looking west. Note the fairy tail grass. It is a newly planted drought tolerant plant.
changing it out saving water, go green, landscape, outdoor living
Looking west from pergola. Note new brick pathways and new raised vegetable garden in center background. Alot of hard work but fun, particularly since state of California paid for materials under their turf replacement program. Converted 932 square feet of grass lawn.

Resources for this project:

Salt and pepper rocks
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Sjt29229935
    on Mar 9, 2018

    I love it and think you did a fabulous job! Wish we lived in a state that would pay for such beauty.

    I have 2 questions

    1. Did you put a weed barrier down? If not, do you spend hours pulling those suckers from the stones and bricks?

    2. I only see 2 chairs for sitting and enjoying the fruits of your labor. With all the stone and, basically, narrow, brick walking paths, where is seating for friends and family?

    Beautiful transformation. Enjoy!

    • Lee Delaney
      on Mar 10, 2018

      My wife took pity on me when laying the brick. The ground was rock hard and it took me over 2 weeks to dig the trenches, pour in the sand and level it for the bricks. You see the trenches in one of the photos

  • Sjt29229935
    on Mar 9, 2018

    Geeze, now I don't see my previous question posted twice. Not a good day for looking intelligent. Anyway, I do have one more question so I can add to my intelligence. How do you keep all the leaves and debris off the stones, especially in the fall? You can't use a sucker/blower with any strength or it will suck/blow the material too. Raking doesn't seem an option and to my lazy way of landscape maintenance, hand picking it all ain't an option. I am considering putting stones and bark around our house for its clean, neat appearance and "easy" upkeep, but the more I think about it, in the overall scheme of things, mowing may be a lot easier. Thanks so much for any and all answers!

  • Em
    on Mar 9, 2018

    What did you use on the outside of the brick pathway to keep bricks in line?

    • Annie
      on Jul 29, 2018

      I live in Missouri. Drought is new to us, but we need to adapt to it because it's happening worse every year. My grass has died back so my lawn is mostly weeds. What grass do you suggest?

      The ground that I'd like to use for a path is pretty steep. What is your suggestion to use to stop rock from washing downhill in the few rains we get?

      I love the results of your labor.

Join the conversation

3 of 91 comments
  • Joffler
    on Mar 12, 2018

    thumbs up!

  • Eroque022810
    on Apr 14, 2018

    Great job, great look and no more lawn,that's my kind of yard. Unfortunately not my husband's and we have a large yard. It's awful and at least half of it like this and the rest a paved patio would be great. I can't stand what we have and the darn thing is in full sun. We get enough rain for it to survive plus I'm in northern Illinois so we only have about 2 months of really hot weather. Before anyone wishes they could trade just understand that the grass isn't always greener on the otherside. I'm not always gardener and we can't afford to have things redone starting with the grading of the basic lawn. So bring on rocks,cement anything but grass. I can handle planters. I sound ungrateful and I really am blessed just not with this but like I said I love what you did and I'm sorry that you have such bad weather and can't have a lawn.

    • Lee Delaney
      on Apr 14, 2018

      Thanks for the compliments. There still is some work. I have to periodically blow leaves and twigs off and pick up my dog's deposits!

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