A better boulevard
May 30, 2015 5:30 PM   Subscribe

I live in Seattle. I have about 250 sq feet of boulevard in front of my new house that is kind of a mess. It's grassed, but it's rutted and uneven and there's a 2" wide by 6" deep trench between the turf and the concrete boundaries of the boulevard, so it's very difficult to mow cleanly. There are two trees planted in it -- I don't know what species -- and the mounds they're planted in contribute to the unevenness.

I would like to replace what's there with a decent-looking ground cover that won't require a lot of maintenance, and which especially doesn't require water after it's established. What do you suggest? DIY solutions are preferred, as money is kind of scarce right now.
posted by Sauce Trough to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a digital camera, a picture would help.
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on May 30, 2015

Response by poster: Here's a photo.
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:34 PM on May 30, 2015

Is it mainly in sunshine or shade, what type of soil are we dealing with, etc? I've had really good success with succulent ground cover like this and I suck at plants and have a black thumb, so that's saying something. This one in particular is super low maintenance and grows well in anything I plant it in.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:41 PM on May 30, 2015

Response by poster: The area is on the southwest side of my property. It gets all the afternoon sun that Seattle has to offer and zero shade. I don't know what kind of soil the area has, alas.

That's a pretty plant! I imagine it would take a lot of them to completely cover my boulevard...
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:54 PM on May 30, 2015

Best answer: That particular succulent grows well anywhere but loves the sun. Give it a try. You'll have to trim it back from the sidewalk after 4 or 5 months because it grows fast, but other than that, it's super low maintenance, especially in a confined area like yours. I'd be shocked if you needed more than two flats to cover your area; that'd be about $25.00 bucks in my neck of the woods. Be wary of planting it in a larger garden because it can get greedy and overtake less aggressive plants.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:31 PM on May 30, 2015

Best answer: Seattle.gov offers recommendations for gardening in the planting strips. Check out this FAQ and planting procedures requirements. You'll need a free Street Use permit only if you plan on planting a tree or installing hardscape elements, like raised planting boxes or pavers. You'll also need to call 811 to confirm the location of utilities.

These links focus on trees, so you might want to call the City Arborist for shrub and groundcover recommendations--grab the number from this page. They should be able to provide guidance on plantings that work best for the space.
posted by prinado at 9:08 PM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I live just north of you, and I have a bunch of a sedum that looks like this planted on the western side of my house. It gets the afternoon sun, and I never water it, and I'm terrible with plants, and it's doing great. I've divided it a few times and it's taking over. I can't tell you exactly which sedum it is, because I got it from a neighbor. It will take a few years but it spreads really well.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:09 PM on May 30, 2015

Best answer: I would dig up all of that grass and put down some decent soil and some succulent ground cover as recommended above. We just hired a landscaper to do something similar in front of our house (also in Seattle) and he planted sedum rubrotinctum which is really cool looking.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:36 PM on May 31, 2015

Response by poster: Okay, sedum it is. Thanks for your help, everyone!
posted by Sauce Trough at 10:23 PM on May 31, 2015

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