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Sometimes No Planning Is Planning

Forget perfection. Your landscape doesn’t need a magazine-worthy design to bring the beauty — plus a fighting chance at surviving our brutal Texas summers.

As I continue my half-hearted attempt to transform my front yard from grass to prairie, I find myself stressing about planning.

I have little experience with hands-on gardening and instead lean on my mantra of “an ignored native plant is a happy plant.” So planning a large project and wanting to get it perfect was driving me in circles. The solution? I simply stopped planning.

If you’re feeling stuck on the planning part of a WaterSaver Landscape Coupon project, take comfort in knowing you don’t have to. Your landscape bed doesn’t have to be symmetrical, the edging doesn’t need to be perfectly aligned granite rocks, and your project doesn’t have to follow any conventional landscaping norms. As long as you meet the requirements of the WaterSaver coupon, you’re good to go!

First, I put the plants in my sea of mulched dead Bermuda grass. I didn’t even start by expanding the existing bed — my new additions are a patch off the walkway to the front door. Not surprisingly I forgot to water after the first weeks. But between the few spurts of rain and native plants being native, everything grew in fine.

It’s now been a few weeks since I put my scruffy plant patch in and it’s coming along nicely. Recent rain spells have sent native vines scrambling up the walls of my house. With that growth came patches of Bermuda grass poking through areas that were covered with thick cardboard and inches of mulch. Looks like my upcoming battle will be to knock them out with the old orange oil trick.

I’ll be adding a few more native plants but I’m holding off on starting another landscape coupon project until September. With Stage 2 watering restrictions in place and what will likely be a very hot and dry summer, now is not the best time to toss plants into the frying pan that is Texas summer.

Stay tuned for more development.

Sarah Gorton
Sarah Gorton
Sarah Gorton is a Planner with the SAWS Conservation department. She is passionate about bats and native plants, with a particular fondness for horseherb! Sarah has completed certifications through Texas Master Naturalist and Native Plant Society. When she isn't working on her research on the use of native grasses for uptaking pollutants at UTSA, she can be found making stained glass or hanging out with her two Chihuahuas.
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