Thinking about xeriscaping our small backyard

3 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

Ours is a zero lot line home in the DFW (TX) area, with the neighbors' house only a few short feet from our patio (and we have use of our yard all the way up to their brick). Our house is fairly new, and we had a drainage issue that was rectified by the builder coming back and installing a French drain. We have never had much success with getting the grass to grow, however. The builder originally installed Bermuda, which generally looked like crap, so we had that removed and had Zeon Zoysia installed in its place. That looked great for a little while, but it hasn't come back the way we expected it to and we're disappointed with our investment in that regard. This photo was taken at night in March, so it's now a couple of months old. The brick wall with the glass block windows is the neighbors' house, and that strip of green grass along that brick wall now looks dead. ::sigh::

The lawn extends on the left side of the picture, to wrap around the back side of our house. There's a young live oak planted back there. As you walk around to the right of the picture, there is a concrete pad where the two air conditioner compressors sit, and walk a few feet further, and there's the gate to the front yard. Sorry these pictures aren't the greatest, but hopefully my descriptions suffice.

It's really a tiny little yard, and as I have long been drawn to the look of the desert Southwest, I'm starting to think I'd really prefer the space filled with gravel, perhaps a stone walkway leading to the gate (being mindful of the French drain which it would parallel), and some hardy desert plants. We have a lawn service that does the mowing, but my husband would like not having to struggle to keep the darn grass alive.

I've been perusing photos of xeriscaped yards and this one really stands out to me:

Of course, we would not train vines to grow on the neighbors' house, but I still think we could implement a similar overall design in our own yard, albeit on a smaller scale since we don't have quite this much space to work with.

Honestly, I'm not even sure what I'm asking in this post - except perhaps for some hand holding in making the decision to move forward with a xeriscaped yard. For those who have done it, do you think it would be a wise decision for our space? Is there anything about your xeriscape that you dislike? Anything to watch out for when starting to plan? I recognize that having a professional draw up a plan and provide some basic guidance would be helpful.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions!

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