Before & After: By Eva Ditler
If this garden could speak, it would say “Thanks, that feels better.”
Just because Carol Franks, owner of La Jolla garden re-do, is Dr. Franks, doesn’t mean she’s an all-work, no-play kind of lady. If you walk through the winding paths of the new front yard that Torrey Pines Landscape Company designed and installed for her, you’ll discover her brand of whimsy is “ribbiting” – her frog statues show off her fun side.
“She’s a great lady and she is fun,” says Harry Thompson, who runs the landscaping company. “She’s put river stones in the garden and little rocks with sayings on them, like the one she gifted my wife that says, ‘Please turn me over’ on one side, and on the other, ‘Thanks, that feels better.'”
With scattered areas of loose-gravel paving, meandering steppingstones and little sitting areas dispersed throughout, the font yard’s mood has lightened. Even some plant names, like Polygala dwarf sweet pea bush, agapanthus, ‘Tiny Tim’, dwarf kangaroo paws and elfin thyme, sound like they are bursting with joy and laughter.
The plants may sound cute and they are beautiful but they were chosen, in large part, with drought-tolerance in mind.
“Dr. Franks wanted a front garden without lawns, a garden she could enjoy without wasting water,” says Thompson. “Although we kept the evergreen pear trees and the older camellias, the lawn is gone.”
Replaced, too, was the L-shaped concrete sidewalk. A new curved walkway of brick complements the existing brick chimney and provides a more gracious entry.
By gutting grass and juggling shapes, colors and textures, this front yard has become a charming retreat that’s also environmentally friendly.
Bottom Photo (Before): Spanish lavenders, wax flowers, Indian Hawthorne, Westringia ‘Blue’ native rosemary, a groundcover of dwarf ornamental strawberry and other deought-tolerant plantings replaced a water-hogging patchy lawn in this La Jolla front yard.