Steve in Tampa was one who made us very proud to be doing grassless yard projects. Steve did a ton of homework before he called us to design and install what he called “the solution to his LAWN problem’s”.
When I first met with Steve, he shared with me some pictures of things he liked in various coffee table books and magazines. I shared with him similar ideas that I had done for other clients and we began our conversation with the reasons why grass doesn’t seem to work in many Florida yards anymore (at least not without a ton of preparation and maybe even some heartache).
It became clear to me that Steve was the kind of person that took pride in his yard and worked hard to keep his lawn healthy (if he could). His frustrations led him to consider an alternative to another failed lawn. Steve had many issues with his old lawn. First, the soil composition was very poor. Steve’s yard was mostly Sugar Sand. This is the worse type of soil to have if you want a pretty lawn. Also, his yard was infested with chinch bugs. These critters can eat an entire lawn up in a matter of weeks! Chinch bugs are hard to control in the heat of a Florida summer, and during a drought they are even more active. Going grassless was going to be the solution and he wanted someone with the knowledge and artistic talent to do it.
Going Grassless in HOA Communities
Steve lives in Tampa Palms. There is a Homeowners association in Tampa Palms, and even though most people believe that HOA rules forbid anything but grass yards (especially in the front yard), Steve did his homework. Florida friendly landscaping is widely accepted by HOA communities as an alternative to grass yards. This doesn’t mean one can throw in a bunch of plants in a mulch bed or rock bed and call it a day! Florida friendly landscape designs address several factors that make the design “friendly” to Florida. Also, the design must look attractive to the eye. Curb appeal is a requirement in most homeowners associations. The overall design must address all of the factors to make it fit the Florida friendly landscape design and it has to look clean and well managed from the street.
This situation was a great candidate for a grass-less yard. All of the plants picked for this project were drought tolerant and cold hardy. The large areas of mulch were filled with plants that would grow into each other and choke out the light for weeds to grow (also minimizing the amount of mulch needed to replace. The center of it all was a focal bed of rock and stone with a path connecting the driveway to the front entry of the home.
Steve’s Yard won the 2012 Tampa Water Wise Award, and was also featured in a coffee table book printed and distributed by Ifeng Space, a global book printing and distribution company in China!
Below are some pictures of Steve’s yard…
Here are some pictures of his yard a couple of years after the install…