This looks so much better than the scruffy slope we had there for too many years.
My goal for projects has been "Landscape the front, garden in the back". It would have been easy to use this area as another planting bed for my rapidly growing collection of random plants. Instead I decided to focus on my goal of a more unified look and impose discipline on the plant selection. That focus has worked out well with the consideration of a few practical issues:
Heat: This area gets full sun for as many as 12 hours a day in summer plus reflected heat from the driveway. Heat tolerance and drought tolerance are not always the same, so they must tolerate both. This was my #1 requirement.
Maintenance: Low maintenance plants were a priority here since we have a large yard and areas where we prefer to spend our gardening time. Trimming once or twice a year should do it for this area.
Water: The neighbor's irrigation system waters a few of the plants at the front once a week but most need to be very drought tolerant since hand watering with the hose is not optimal.
Site use: Plant selections along a driveway in a residential neighborhood should be resilient enough to stand up to wayward toys, bicycles, or vehicle tires. I also chose plants that are inexpensive to replace for this reason.
Consistency: Use the same plants as those existing in the yard to produce a unified look across the front. It was important to choose evergreen plants to retained the same look most of the year and the selected plants were common to the neighborhood.
Layout: The house is asymmetrical with contemporary straight lines. Much of the hardscape consisting of a circle driveway and sidewalk has curves. This section of driveway is 100' long and 18' wide. The property line averages just 4' off the driveway. No point in trying to disguise it as anything other than a runway. A row of plants is what is expected here, since there is no room for anything else.
For inspiration I also relied on David's posts at The Desert Edge and checked out local commercial landscapes.
Given these criteria I decided that Silverado sage and Hesperaloe parviflora were the best choices for the long section. Dividing existing hesperaloes meant they were free. We alternated three hesperaloe in between each sage. A row of Mexican Feather Grass (Nasella tenuissima) softens the edge near the driveway. Just a few 6" pots divided into small plugs yielded enough for this 90' stretch.
This photo was taken back in April
The plants have filled out nicely in just a few months. The sage planted from 6" pots has already produced a few blooms this summer. Rough mulch on the long section (free from the city) and stones from the back yard near the street enhances the look, and ties the strip together with the other side of the yard.
Out near the street the plants are kept low for visual safety. There are three Color Guard Yuccas, red salvia greggii divided from the existing ones (more free plants), Golden Barrel Cactus, Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Mexican feather grass, and four-nerve daisy. With the neighbor's permission and inputs to the project, we made their side match ours at the point near the street.
All of these plants were existing in the other side of the front yard, so continuing them along the driveway completed a consistent look across the front.
At the back by the garage is more salvia greggii and a Lantana Bandana 'Cherry Sunrise'. They're small now, but should grow quickly beginning late summer or early fall. The last sage by the rock on the left volunteered in that spot, so very nice of it to plant itself in just the right spot.
The lantana and salvia greggii will eventually look like these by the mailbox.
Our neighbor removed the noxious bermuda grass which had invaded his side yard and replaced it with nice green zoysia. in this photo you can see where fine textured zoysia meets the existing St. Augustine grass planted years ago.
What a difference! We enjoy driving up to the house seeing this area as it looks now.
Our neighbors are also pleased with the new look. A good result all around.