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Seeking advice re: my plan for turning lawn to organic garden

8 years ago

I'm in one of the hottest parts of Los Angeles, and planning to covert my lawn to a low-water, drought-tolerant garden using mainly native plants. My wife insists we do this organically, and I'm fine with that. We are doing this as a DIY project, but have limited experience with landscaping. I'm hoping to get:

(1) Any advice if my list of planned steps is incomplete, or could be improved,
(2) Any advice where to get organic supplies in the LA area (compose, mulch, plants recommended for this zone in the LA County Drought-Tolerant Garden guide, etc.)

We are using the "soil lasagna method," complicated a bit by adding a swale to help utilize more rainwater. Anyway, here's my general list:

1. Mow lawn as short as possible.
2. Dig out the swale area (which will involve digging out part of the lawn, the rest I'll be leaving as the bottom "lasagna" layer")
3. Use excess dirt/grass from swale area to make mounds around yard to create more interest, and to help steer drainage toward swale.
4. Cover everything with a layer of paper, wet it, cover with 4-6 inches of organic compost, wet it, cover with 2 inches of organic mulch, wet it.
5. Add river rock in the swale area to create dry riverbed look.
6. Plant the chosen plants around the yard, including swale plants in the swale area.
7. Covert sprinkler heads with drip irrigation lines leading to plant clusters, cap any sprinkler heads not needed.
8. Jack-hammer out the cement walkway leading to front door.
9. Install flagstone-in-decomposed granite path to front door.

  1. Install stepping stone path(s) around yard between plant clusters.

As I go over this, I'm thinking I should cap all the sprinkler heads before I do the lasagna layers, then uncap those I need for drip irrigation after the planting is done. I'm also second-guessing whether to put "lasagna layers" in the swale area, since I'll be digging out the lawn in that area to create the swale. And I'm second-guessing doing hardscaping last (the walkway)...If it is generally recommended to do hardscape first, I might modify that.

Anyway, any thoughts, advice, or buying / vendor tips appreciated.


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