Kathy’s Garden Design for Her Daughter

Kathy Sandel has shared her gardens with us before (More of Kathy’s Calabasas Garden, Kathy’s Garden Transformation in Sacramento), but today she’s sharing the garden she created for her daughter in Sacramento, California.

My daughter and her wife have lived in a small house in Sacramento for several years. Now that I have also moved near, she asked me to redo her front garden.

They were already planning on widening and repaving the driveway, and since their rear garden is very limited, I suggested that the contractor pouring the driveway extend the pour and include a good-size pad in the front garden. I could then build low planters to surround the concrete area to create a patio. They liked the idea, so we mapped out the shape and size.

The front garden contains a huge redwood tree. It is too large to consider removing, and they do like the tree. However, it dominates the property. We solved the problem by raising its lower limbs to let in more light and to be able to see across the yard. We also pruned it carefully to lighten its prominence. The lowest branches are now about 7 feet above the ground. We sectioned the yard into three planting areas.

front yard set up with lines of drip irrigationWe then brought in about 10 yards of good planter mix and amendments, turned and graded the area, and laid drip lines.

sloped front yard garden with new plantingsThe front slope we covered in a silver ground cover called dymondia (Dymondia margaretae, Zones 9–11).

close up of succulents and ground covers planted in front yardThere is a natural dip in the surface between the front slope and the area surrounding the tree. We planted many different succulents in this area, with a ground cover of creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia, Zones 3–8).

progress photo of patio and raised planter constructionWe then finished building and plastering the low planters that surround the patio, making sure to leave openings at the base for drainage.

finished patio and planters filled with flowersWe filled these planters with wonderful planter mixes and perlite for aeration and proceeded to plant color, mostly perennials with some succulents mixed in. The planters are also on drip irrigation.

close up of red flower and foliage in raised planterThe first winter we planted white cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum, Zones 9–11). Then for summer we planted a mix of red Heuchera (Zones 3–8) in place of the cyclamen.

finished patio with outdoor furnitureMy daughter and her wife bought new patio furniture and are thrilled with their new party patio.

raised planting with lots of purple flowersClimbing roses and pansies fill this planter with color.


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