DIY Lawn Replacement: Plant Success Report

Front yard in three planting beds

Front yard in three planting beds, September 2015

When I was selecting plants for my front yard lawn replacement, I had a challenging time guessing which plants would do well, especially the natives. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of info out there about which native plants take well to PNW Puget Lowlands gardens (or maybe I was looking in the wrong spots).

I planted between May and July 2015, shopping at multiple nurseries to get everything (and still couldn’t find everything I’d picked out), so I’m reporting back on how the plants I chose did after an extremely hot and dry summer. I think I had higher-than-normal mortality due to the drought, rabbits, and mistakenly thinking one section of my yard was much shadier than reality.

I’ve divided the blend of native, drought-tolerant, and wildlife-friendly plants into categories: favorites, doing well, surprises, meh, dying, dead, and scrapped.

(Check out the three-year garden update, with lessons learned about plant selection, garden design and the replacement process.)

Continue reading

Appreciating Pacific Northwest Summers

Rainstorm moving in over the Hood Canal

Rainstorm moving in over the Hood Canal, August 2010

Summer is officially here!

But as I write this, the sky is a dripping white ceiling of clouds, and the rain is forecasted to continue for days.

When I was growing up, summer meant sweltering heat, sundresses, water gun fights, lemonade, sunburns. Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest, where the summers are notoriously mild, I’ve adjusted my expectations. After three summers, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t expect hot or sunny days until July. We Washingtonians love to lament our lack of a summer. But there’s plenty to appreciate about our cool Pacific Northwest summers.

Continue reading