Lowe and Del Salza’s front yard in Shaker Heights, Ohio, is living proof that a garden can be both beautiful and ecologically functional. Making the most of a modestly sized front lawn, designers Sabrina Scheuer and Samuel Salisbury Salisbury Shores Landscape Design Create a comfortable outdoor living space that tastefully incorporates permaculture principles and an eco-friendly rainwater management system. Each plant chosen for this landscape has a function and a purpose. Perennials, shrubs, and spring flowering bulbs provide a succession of flowers that attract large amounts of pollinators throughout the growing season. There are edible fruits and berries and many native plants that provide support and shelter for insect larvae, birds and other wildlife. A herb spiral is located near the sidewalk, and neighbors are encouraged to pick fresh herbs whenever they want.
Departure from the “normal” front yard
Most front lawns in this historic suburban neighborhood look pretty similar, with turf grass spread out and bordered with trees and maybe some manicured shrubs. In contrast, the Salzas’ front garden is full of lush color and texture, showing the full potential of a successful lawn alternative. Beneath the tree swing is a small circle of turf frequented by the neighborhood children. This high-traffic area of the garden was seeded with a low-grass mix of slow-growing species that are shade-tolerant and require less mowing, watering and fertilizer than regular turf.
Eco-friendly features have a double effect.
This thoughtful garden design also has many features that keep stormwater on site instead of flowing into often-clogged municipal storm sewers. When it rains, water from the roof of the house is collected in a series of rain barrels and can be used to water the garden during dry periods. If the rain barrels are filled to capacity, the excess water is directed to the rain garden, where it can slowly percolate into the ground. Densely planted garden beds naturally absorb more water than suburban lawns with shallow roots. The asphalt driveway has been replaced with a permeable paving system installed on a deep gravel base that allows water to seep into the soil.
Digging Deeper into Sustainable Garden Design
Replace the front lawn with a beautiful, eco-friendly garden.
Planting for pollinators