Replacing Lawn in Your Parking Strip

Replacing your entire front lawn can be both time-consuming and costly. You can, however, start small by removing that water-guzzling grass in the parking strip between the sidewalk and the street.

Drought tolerant perennialsNot only is this method a less time-consuming and cheaper project, it also will allow you to experiment to see what looks best and which plants will thrive.

Keep in mind when you select plants that people will want to get in and out of their cars next to the parking strip. Also check to see if there are any regulations–particularly from your local fire department–about the height of plants you can put in the parking median.


So here are some suggestions for you:

Rows of ornamental grasses are a simple solution for a parking median.  In this example in this photo, below, the outer row is Blue Fescue, the next row is Society garlic and the central line is Red Fountain grass, shown here trimmed back for winter height.

hot gardens - ornamental grass medianThe Red Fountain grass has been cut back during the winter and will regrow rapidly to a height of 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall come Spring. If you prefer not to have the strong scent of Society Garlic, you can find ornamental grass substitutes at your local nursery. Be sure to ask for low-water usage plants.

hot gardens yellow flower median

An even simpler solution for a parking strip is a field of yellow blooms in spring.  The rest of the year the gray-green plants dominate the area.  Once the flowers have faded, you can walk right over this planting to get in and out of cars. There is, however, a bit of a risk of snagging high heeled shoes on the plants.



hot gardens - medians with lavenderFragrant and drought-tolerant Lavender is beautiful, sturdy and easy to grow.  While it is a colorful and water-wise planting for a parking strip, it does grow tall–up to 3 feet in height. If you decide to plant it, be sure to allow for walkways to let you or your guests get in and out of a car parked on the street.

hot gardens - medians with sea lavenderA mix of  a flat gray-green ground cover, Dymondia and taller plants such as purple Sea Lavender (Limonium perezii) have been strategically planted to provide color, low water usage and access in and out of cars parked in front of this home. This parking strip is also planted with red Penstemon and Creeping Rosemary. This is a complicated mix of plants–but done well.  To see photos of the absolutely gorgeous front yard of this home, go here.

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hot gardens 0 median with oversize agavesOkay.  Here is what NOT to do–even though the intention was good. The choice of aloes, agaves and ice plants mean no water needed except what falls from the sky. The larger plants, however, are simply too big. They jut out onto the sidewalk area and into the street.  And the iceplants are too deep to step on without snagging your shoes–especially high heels. Even shoes with low heels will get snagged in the ice plant.



Replacing your lawn — read this for what NOT to do
Replacing your lawn with perennials
Replacing your lawn with ground covers
Replacing your lawn with ornamental grasses
Replacing your lawn with pavers
Replacing your lawn with mazes and knot gardens
Replacing the lawn in your parking median

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