Customer Garden: Replacing A Bluegrass Lawn With Bold Color In Boise
When our customers Matthew and Pascale planted their first garden at their home in Boise, Idaho (zone 6b/7a), they went for big impact and major curb appeal! With the goals of saving water and supporting pollinators, Matthew and Pascale removed their entire front yard of traditional Kentucky Bluegrass turf. In its place, they planted bright and colorful flowers, groundcovers, and ornamental grasses, for a new front yard that is filled with personality and interesting details. The results are truly inspiring! Below, Matthew shares their process, three favorite perennials, and his full plant list with us. Read on for details.
What inspired you to plant a waterwise lawn or garden?
M.W.: "When we first moved into our house the front yard was just weedy Kentucky bluegrass and a lone barberry. It's south-facing, sloped, and our irrigation system had failed, so the grass was nearly impossible to keep watered."
"Additionally, we had some work done on the house and the heavy machinery killed a large section of the grass, so it was a good time to make some changes. We wanted to reduce our water consumption, bring in more pollinators, and make better use of the space, since we didn't use the front lawn much at all."
Was this your first time creating a lawn or garden like this, or do you have experience?
M.W.: "Other than vegetables, this was our first time planting a garden. Our soil is heavy clay, and most of the plants we wanted require good drainage, so we brought in landscaping rock and a gritty soil mix and created a series of low berms on top of the clay. It's been a learning experience, finding out what will grow in the native clay and what does better on a berm."
What are your favorite plants?
M.W.: "Mohave Sage (Salvia pachyphylla) has showy flowers, a long blooming season, and the evergreen leaves take on a silvery-blue color in the winter. Creeping Goldenaster (Heterotheca jonesii) is very drought-tolerant, evergreen, blooms for months and months. 'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) - it's drought-tolerant, clay-tolerant, and seedheads look good through the winter."
Do you have any tips for other waterwise gardeners?
M.W.: "Plan for all seasons, not just summer. The first winter our garden was very bare-looking. Try to anchor your beds with evergreens like agave, yucca, manzanita, or native salvias, as well as ornamental grasses that have a strong winter presence, like little bluestem or blue grama grass. From there, you can fill in with summer-flowering perennials."
"Additionally, if you have perennials that are later to wake up, like agastache, gaura, and blanketflower, they can be underplanted with early spring-blooming bulbs like crocus, Iris reticulata, or species tulips, since their water needs are similar. For us, this has extended the blooming season from late February through November."
Get This Look In Your Garden | Waterwise Plants For Bold Color
‘Tango’ Agastache (Agastache aurantiaca) is a compact, cold hardy, native hybrid perennial that blooms all season long. This dwarf variety features a profusion of bright ...Learn MoreTango Agastache Tango Hummingbird Mint Agastache aurantiaca Tango$12.99 Sale $11.69Sale Price I Save 10%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Hymenoxys scaposa (Thrift-Leaf Perky Sue) is one of our very best native wildflowers. Drought tolerant, the tidy mound of evergreen foliage is covered with bright yellow daisies in l...Learn MoreThrift-Leaf Perky Sue (Hymenoxys) Thrift-Leaf Perky Sue Hymenoxys scaposa$11.99 Sale $10.79Sale Price I Save 10%Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
‚Intermountain Beauty‚ is a selected form of native Gaura that has naturalized in the Salt Lake City area and blooms all summer with showy spikes of large white flowers....Learn MoreIntermountain Beauty Gaura Intermountain Beauty Wand Flower (Beeblossom) Gaura lindheimeri Intermountain Beauty$13.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
A dazzling selection of this California native wildflower species, Monardella macrantha ‚Marian Sampson‚ (Hummingbird Coyote Mint) has clusters of brilliant red, tubular ...Learn MoreMarian Sampson Scarlet Monardella Scarlet Monardella, Hummingbird Coyote Mint Monardella macrantha Marian SampsonAs low as $13.49Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) is one of the best, most durable species in the Agastache family. With smoky orange flowers held by lavender calyxes, the entire plant is s...Learn MoreAgastache rupestris Licorice Hummingbird Mint (Sunset Hyssop) Agastache rupestrisAs low as $13.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’ (Meadow Sage) blooms prolifically with deep purple-blue flowers. It is an outstanding perennial with excellent cold hardiness, vigor, and to...Learn MoreMay Night Salvia May Night Meadow Sage Salvia sylvestris May NightAs low as $11.99 Sale $9.59Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
This is an exceptional small growing, evergreen plant that covers itself with hundreds of bright light orange, yellow throated flowers in late spring-early summer. A western native p...Learn MoreLuminous Pineleaf Penstemon Luminous Pineleaf Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius LuminousAs low as $12.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
24-36„ tall x 15„ wide. The Richfield form of Eaton‚s Beardtongue was selected for its overall vigor and flower production. It blooms in early to mid-spring bloomin...Learn MoreFirecracker Penstemon Richfield Strain Richfield Strain Firecracker Beardtongue Penstemon eatonii Richfield StrainAs low as $11.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Straight Up Red Texas Yucca PPAF is an everblooming yucca that produces a summer-long display of red-pink flowers held on strongly upright growing flower spikes. 2017 Plant of The Ye...Learn MoreStraight Up Red Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe) Straight Up Red Texas Yucca Hesperaloe parviflora Straight Up RedAs low as $14.99 Sale $13.49Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
This is a new selection of the native Idaho Fescue, notable for its enticing spruce-blue foliage. The thin leaves are much longer than the more familiar Festuca glauca, giving Festuc...Learn MoreSiskiyou Blue Fescue Grass Siskiyou Blue Idaho Fescue Grass Festuca idahoensis Siskiyou BlueAs low as $12.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Bouteloua gracilis ‚Blonde Ambition‚ PP#22,048 (Blue Grama Grass) is a native ornamental grass with a completely new look. The horizontal eyelash-like chartreuse flowers ...Learn MoreBlonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition PP#22,048As low as $15.99 Sale $12.79Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Matthew's Full Plant List:
(Click each link for product or plant species information. Not all of these plants are illustrated in the photos above, and some may be out of stock for the season.)
*North American Native plant or native cultivar
Agastache cana* (Texas Hummingbird Mint)
Berlandiera lyrata* (Chocolate Flower)
Bouteloua gracilis* (Blue Grama Grass)
Calylophus hartwegii* (Sundrops)
Delosperma sp. (Ice Plant)
Digitalis obscure (Foxglove)
Echinacea purpurea* (Purple Coneflower, multiple cultivars available)
Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus)
Eriogonum umbellatum* (Sulphur Buckwheat)
Festuca* sp. (Fescue Grass)
Gaillardia* sp. (Blanket Flower)
Gaura lindheimeri* (Wand Flower, Beeblossom, or Appleblossom Grass)
Helianthemum* sp. (Rock Rose)
Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass)
Hesperaloe parviflora* (Texas Yucca, multiple cultivars available)
Heterotheca jonesii* (Creeping Goldenaster)
Hymenoxys scaposa* (Thrift-Leaf Perky Sue)
Iris reticulata (Specie Iris)
Lavandula sp. (Lavender)
Monardella macrantha* (Scarlet Monardella)
Oenothera macrocarpa* (Evening Primrose)
Penstemon eatonii* (Eaton's Penstemon or Firecracker Penstemon)
Penstemon mensarum* (Grand Mesa Penstemon)
Penstemon pinifolius* (Pineleaf Penstemon, multiple cultivars available)
Penstemon pseudospectabilis* (Desert Penstemon)
Penstemon superbus* (Superb Penstemon)
Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque Flower)
Salvia dorrii* (Desert Purple Sage)
Salvia greggii* (Salvia, native - several cultivars available)
Salvia pachyphylla* (Mojave Sage)
Salvia sylvestris (Salvia, European - several cultivars available)
Schizachyrium scoparum* (Little Bluestem Grass - several cultivars available)
Scrophularia macrantha* (Redbirds In A Tree)
Scutellaria suffretescens* (Cherry Skullcap)
Veronica bombycina (Woolly Turkish Speedwell)
Veronica liwanensis (Turkish Speedwell)
Veronica oltensis (Thyme Leaf Speedwell)
Zauschneria garrettii (Creeping Hummingbird Mint)