Friday, September 23, 2011

On My Mind - What to do?

There are a couple of things on my mind today,
and this is one of them.

We have this area of lawn, that I refuse to water anymore. Our water bill has sky rocketed lately costing way too much to keep on watering just for looks. This is basically the only area that is green around here in Summer and it is always refreshing. We have another lawn area around the clothes line that also needs to be replaced with something else, that is not getting watered either.

The powers that be forget that we live in a very dry area with very little rain and we are punished for trying to keep things alive. Other areas get rain once a week or fortnight, we get not a drop for months....I have been carting rain water to the laundry for our washing and the kitchen for our dishes as the house is not connected up to the rain water tanks yet. We need to get a plumber in to do some work...

Anyway getting back to this area. We are thinking of paving this and closing it in as an area to sit under and relax...Fake lawn is not an option because it gets too hot and cant be walked on. Our swimming pool is located just to the left.

I suggested putting more veggie beds up there, but I dont think hubby liked that idea..."how many veggies do you need?" was his response. I figure if you are going to water it may as well be something edible hey? I have already replaced my inedible pot plants with herbs...

What's on your mind today?


  1. It is a big area isn't it...would a garden of native trees help. There's be shade and coolness under them and plenty of birds come visiting.

    Have a look at this tree for inspiration ;)


  2. Funny you should ask. We are having the same deliemma at our house with an area that grass will just not grow. We have decided to pave and put in a fire pit. Now we just have to do it.

  3. As you're already bucketing water in to the laundry what about bucketing or pumping rinse water from the laundry onto some fruit tree seedlings planted in that area? It doesn't look like you need to mow the grass often so maybe a few varied fruit trees surrounded by mulch and watered with grey water would be an option. A side benefit is that as they grew the shade they provided, and any water left in the soil from the fruit trees, would encourage grass growth. Then there's the benefit of tasty home grown produce!

  4. I'd agree with Robyn,,,how about a few fruit trees, which of course would then create shade for a nice outdoor seating of some kind.

    I'm the same, our water bill is horrendous and I am at the point where I don't want to pay to water plants that won't at least, hopefully, provide us with some kind of food.

  5. Beds around the edge, with large succulants would look spectacular, and no need to a good option other than pavers and lawn.........??
    What a fabulous blank canvas to work with.....some sort of 'structure' would be great to provide some shade....with your outdoor seats etc...

  6. Fruit trees sound reasonable, or else just water the lawn with grey water if you're not already using it for something else.

  7. Or some palms of some kind? I didn't realise you lived surrounded by houses in a suburban setting..I had a picture of you in my mind out on a property! Have a lovely weekend.

  8. Lawns are over-rated. Too much upkeep for little return. Though I can imagine how lovely it is when it is lush and cool on a very hot day. I think your paving idea sounds good with some plantings that you love too.

  9. Some great suggestions, thank you everyone.

    Our grey water gets utilised by being drained out onto the fruit trees by way of a french drain...

    Sue, natives sounds good apart from attracting unwanted king brown snakes. The bird life would love them though.

    Some ideas with fruit trees. We have a lemon, loqurt, icecream, and 2 guavas in pots that could go there.

    Suzanne, succulents would be great too !

    Hubby doesnt like palms Carol. They struggle a bit here too, even though the neighbours have them growing quite well.

    Lawns are overrated, you are right there Tracy. Although it did look nice and green when growing. Should have put a before photo there.

    This will keep me thinking...

  10. I think a path through the fruit trees to a paved undercover area with vines.

  11. I'm a bit partial to lawn: The massive patch I have in my backyard may well have given that away, BUT lawn can be grown in dry climates without the need for consistent watering. You just have to pick the right lawn.
    My suggestion is that you plant the fruit trees, then get your hands on some KIKUYU lawn seed. Scatter the seed over your existing lawn. Water in. Now, the soil doesn't have to be bogged-down soggy: It just needs to be kept damp. A light sprinkling every every evening until the new lawn is established (a few weeks) should be plenty, then start cutting back the watering, until you only need to water for a few minutes once a week. Splash it with buckets of rain water if you prefer. The kikuyu will take over your existing lawn. It's hardy enough to survive days of 40+ and nights below zero, and it's green all year round. It'll even grow in competition with the fruit trees. You can use the space wisely and yet still have your welcoming green patch.
    You could probably even reduce the size of the space that the lawn is currently taking up, without getting rid of it completely. Our massive patch of lawn really doesn't cost us much at all: We pay more in supply charges and levies than we do in actual use.
    Love ~S. xo

  12. I think Hazel's idea of an undercover area sounds good!

  13. Looking forward to seeing your post when you do change it. What a huge area to play with. Good luck!

  14. Oh Hazel that is a fantastic idea. I need a plan...

  15. Your kids would probably love it paved....and nice for laying out after swimming (less bugs). Just be sure that if you do get rain, the water doesn't run off towards your house. We actually added dirt to build up land behind our house to stop rain runoff. I don't like to waste money on watering grass either. I think husbands "picture" work in their mind when wives mention putting in new vegetable,andea

  16. You certainly have some ideas to think about from all the comments. I like Hazel's idea too. You might like to check out this link about this native Australian vine. I have them growing and they are lovely. I guess you would just need to check if they were suitable for your climate.
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    Anne xx

  17. Hi Tania, I can only imagine how tiring it must be having to cart water to and fro to keep things alive! When you mentioned paving it, I immediately thought of drawing inspiration from the hotter countries of the world, Spain and Greece, for example, and their beautiful courtyards. You could create shade with some citrus trees in pots, and deciduous grapevines up the posts so that you are getting shade in summer, but allowing the light in during the cooler times of the year. Lawns are lovely to look at during the hotter times of the year, but they do take a lot of work, and like you, I think it's better to invest time and money primarily into edibles.

  18. I think I would plant an orchard there of small trees and briars. Not sure what will grow in Australia though. We too only water areas that produce food for us.

  19. Plant a large morgen bay fig - I always love the ones that grow in adelaide but sadly they take far too long to grow and create shade. My dad grew up in the mid north near Balaklava and they use to have peppercorn trees that grow very large and create lots of shade and don't need water. Anyway this isn't solving your water problem at all.

    Do have a lovely week.

  20. I like the shade idea by Hazel too. Can't have too much of it in Oz I think.

  21. Some great ideas, Hope you sort it out soon.

    Sft x

  22. Reminds me of our front lawn in summer. I refuse to water ours too, so all that's left is weeds. Every now and then I find myself out there with the lawn mower, knocking the seed heads off their stems. I'm slowly trying to turn it all into an herb garden, but the going is slow and herbs need water too.

  23. Having green grass is so nice but such a waste of water and when water is scarce and the pot plants with herbs and veggies sounds good or some fruit trees, you can never have enough food to eat.

  24. Hi Tania, I can see you have heaps of suggestions but I was dying to give you my two bobs worth! I was too busy at the time to comment but I've been thinking about your patch for days. We live on a very dry, hot hill that was barren when we came. Last summer I made visitors walk in and out of the yard, so they could experience the temperature variation. Outside the yard, with not much vegetation, the heat radiated from the trunk of the gum tree, from the ground and the rocks. But as you walked in to the green yard with heaps of vegetation, you could noticeably feel the temperature drop. Therefore I suggest planting trees. Fruit trees make sense because, as you say, you might as well be getting food from it. I love Hazel's idea. I don't know if you can grow Paulownias in your area but I love them. They grow really fast, are drought tolerant once established, are huge and offer heaps of shade so would protect your fruit trees, and you could sneak some strawberries or lettuces underneath without hubby even knowing! ;) Wow! That was my longest ever comment!


I love reading your comments! Through them, I have learnt that there are some truly lovely people out there. Thank you :)