In mid-2008, Patsy Murray relocated to Gainesville from Boston. Her goal was to transform her yard into a sustainable landscape that would conserve water and energy, as well as produce food for her family. One year later, Patsy is happy with the huge changes in her yard.
This is her original front yard with a wide expanse of turf and some shrubbery around the home.
The first task was to remove the grass and existing shrubs so the transformation could begin.
In March 2009 the planting was complete. She told me, "Some neighbors "get it" and some don't. The ones who get it probably have a philosophy similar to ours of preserving as much water and labor as possible by planting low maintenance, Florida-friendly plants and minimizing the grass." Her house quickly became known as "the mulch house" in the neighborhood.
Two months later (May) the plantings were growing nicely and beginning to cover the mulch. One of Patsy's favorite plants is the Beach Dune Sunflowers located to the right of the front walkway. She said, "They are a wonderful, colorful and fast-growing groundcover which provides me with cheerful flowers for cutting." Other flowering perennials include purple and red salvias, Indian hawthorne, butterfly bushes, Texas sage, passion flower vine, honeysuckle vine and plumbagos.
Now, for the backyard. A clean slate and a manageable size. A view to the left.
And a view to the right.
A view from the back corner.
As Patsy continues to learn more about sustainable gardening, through trial and error she has started a blog to share what she learns with other Floridians. You can keep up with Patsy's garden by visiting her Grow Food Not Grass blog.