I am planning a small drought tolerant garden for the area in front of my sidewalk and will be documenting my progress here.
The area is 3’ wide by 50’ long and has scattering of grass that is minimally watered by sprinklers.
I plan to replace the grass with 2 borders of drought tolerant society garlic and a center section of dramatic agave plants.
There is a plethora of information and imagery on line devoted to the subject of drought resistant plants so choosing the color and species was not daunting. Once my choices had been narrowed down I turned to a local grower, Shelly Jennings of Worldwide Exotic Plants to find suitable sized plants. My goal was to find a medium sized agave that would serve as a focal point without becoming too unruly. Shelly’s nursery is large both in size and in the amazing variety of agave, aloe, grasses and shrubs making it a great one stop shop for my project.
I chose a total of 12 Agave Univatata Aurea for the central section and will be adding 50 white and blue flowering garlic later for the borders. The agave will be space about 4’ apart and the garlic will be spaced at similar intervals but off center to the agave. The agave will produce smaller “baby” plants some of which I will keep for future use and the garlic will create bulb offspring which I will leave to fill out the border.
Since I do not want to use any chemicals to kill the existing grass we will dig down to a 6” depth and remove both the soil and fine grass roots. Agaves need soil that drains well so the replacement soil will be a combination of sand mixed with potting mix.
Once the top soil is in place I will then have to decide whether to lay a series of drip lines or to water by hand. The existing water pipe is old and ugly but running a new line will be costly and logistically challenging as it would need to run under the sidewalk.
Once established both the agave and garlic plants will not require much water but when first planted the garlic will need to be watered 3 to 4 times a week. For this reason, I am planning on adding the garlic in the fall when hopefully we have less brutal heat.
To help retain moisture and to curtail weeds the top soil will be held in place by gravel. I have chosen Golden Coast gravel as the golden red tones will provide a nice contrast to the green, blue, purple and white plant colors. The gravel is not difficult to find and as I have a truck I was able to pick this up at a reasonable price from Prime Building Materials located in Sylmar.