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small N CA front yard w/natives

Now that the driveway and roof have been replaced, it is time to work on the front yard. I want to use native plants for N. CA. and have an idea about some of the plants, but I am now trying to figure out paths, fences, etc. There is a part of me that would like an English country garden, but our front yard needs to be butterfly friendly, deer-resistant and drought tolerant. The lemon tree is the only thing that stays. Yard is about 20x40 and gets morning/full day sun. The space down the side of the house is very narrow and really only has room for a path.

I am thinking DG w/natural pavers for the path. It will still go from the sidewalk to the front door and then across in front of the lemon tree to the driveway. I have two sets of steps between the chimney and lemon tree that will have to be replaced.

We will probably replace the split rail fence with another split rail just because it seems to go along with the use of native plants. Also, I think a more closed fence would make the yard seem smaller.

I really think that I need a strong design element that is not based on plants. My first attempt at putting something on paper is a dry streambed. The yard does slope down. The beginning of the dry streambed would be anchored by a large rock and a Vine Maple Acer (Acer circinatum). It would start on the far side of the yard and go "under" a section of the walkway that would be wood to make you think of a bridge. The dry streambed would have random clumps of native grasses alongside it and pool in the front corner of the yard.

I am not completely sold on the design I have now, but once I came up with one design, I cant seem to get it out of my head to try a different one. Does it seem like too much going on in a small space with the paths, streambed and fence? Does anyone have any suggestions?

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