The HOA Residential
Restrictive HOA Rules, Hot and Dry Slope and Big Dreams for a Big Garden
Don is a man with a plan and a vitamix. He is an experienced annual vegetable gardener who had been growing an abundance of veggies in Earth Boxes that he moved around his yard and protected from neighborhood rabbits. He wanted more veggies and perennial fruit trees in place of the same old usual landscaping plants: hollies, crape myrtle and an assortment of evergreens. We were ready to work together to replace them with more useful plants, but we needed to take our time. Don lives in a community with very strict rules about landscaping, with regulations governed by a tough HOA. Any work would need to be approved by both the neighbors and the HOA board.
Design for Curb Appeal
We did a full scale design for the property, aiming to boost the curb appeal while gaining an abundance of homegrown berries. In addition to edibles, we designed in patches of ground covers and evergreens for four season interest. We also designed in garden infrastructure with a “neat” look. Don’s blackberries climb a white picket fence that also keeps pesky rabbits out of his double dug vegetable beds.
Drought Tolerant Plantings for Beneficial Insects
Don’s house faces directly south. The 10+ hours of sun in high summer presented a challenge as well as an opportunity for beautiful and drought tolerant plants to thrive. We chose a fig and chaste tree to shade the house in the summer and allow warmth in the winter, bronze fennel to attract beneficial insects for control pests in Don’s veggie garden, and Mediterranean herbs for a year round culinary harvest.
Just planting drought tolerant plants wasn’t going to be enough. We wanted to catch the water coming off Don’s downspouts and sink it into the ground for the edible landscape. We created gravel percolation chambers and a sleek looking dry creek bed for water to run through during a storm. This led to a swale running the entire length of the yard, which captures the water that was once running off the property. These low-tech methods have spread the natural wealth of rainwater back to the plants instead of down the drain. Don’s house made us remember the golden rule of water catchment: the cheapest place to store water is in the soil.
“ I must have got 80 lbs of blackberries this summer!” (1.5 years after planting)