September 8, 2011
I want a yard that is easy to take care of, so it really works out that I live in the high desert southwest (northern New Mexico). With an annual rainfall under 20 inches, an average of only five days per year where the sun doesn't shine at all, and an altitude of 7200 feet, our climate is challenging. The best landscaping is called xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is simply using native plants in your garden. Native plants are already acclimated, they don't require any additional water (a big plus in the desert), and they don't need any special care.
For an area like this, that also means no Kentucky blue grass. (Fine by me, as that stuff is hard to take care of even in wetter climates.) So what do we do with our yards? Unless you really want a lawn, use stone.
For the side yard here, I laid down a layer of the same weed cloth I used under the path. It's called Roc-Kloth, made durable enough to be used under pavers and stone. I used river pebbles for their smoothness. In the photo, you can tell I didn't buy enough. The goal is to have those wood guides along the paths completely covered. Lessons learned, I guess. Because of this landscaping, I haven't had a single weed since I finished two years ago. The whole process took me three years to complete to this point.
That black box on the upper tier is the next part of the story.