Intervention! Kick Your Grass Addiction

Chapter 1

I loved spending summers in my front yard, sitting on the lawn under the cool shade of the large trees that lined the street. The house I grew up in sat on a corner,
at least thirty feet from the sidewalk, with a lawn that wrapped around the front and side of the house. We often used the space to play games with the neighborhood children: Red Rover, kickball, and tag.

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Playtime! Explore the Possibilities

Chapter 3

Home Improvement, not the TV show, but my life! After years of training and work experience as a landscape architect, I finally purchased my first home—a real fixer-upper with a horrible yard. I couldn't wait to get started on the garden, but as I tried to make my garden plan, oh my goodness! Every decision was torture. I had no problem providing ideas and sketches for other people's homes, but designing my personal space was excruciating—so many ideas and so little space. Does that sound familiar, like maybe someone you know?

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Make the Space: Create the Outdoor Room

Chapter 5

Your garden is an extension of your house. Just like you would a room, you'll furnish it, not with overstuffed couches & coffee tables, but with plant materials, garden structures, fences, & walls. In this chapter, I will show you, step-by-step, how to create a master plan for your front yard, identifying what goes where & why. Once you have this master plan, I will help you choose the plants for your garden in Chapter 6 & then select paving materials, structures, & accessories in Chapter 7.

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Accessories: Furnish the Room

Chapter 7

I remember my Dad describing what it was like to grow up during the Great Depression. Possessions were well-made and valued. Clocks, shoes, and appliances were repaired, not thrown away and replaced. Outgrown clothes became "hand-me-downs" to younger siblings or cousins. He would lament the wastefulness of society with plastic appliances that were cheaper to replace than repair and furnishings that were disposed of rather than refurbished.

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Pay it Forward: Beyond Your Property Line

Chapter 9

I was eight years old when John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech, stating, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Even at that young age, I felt the words stir something inside me. I found myself inspired even though I was not sure exactly how they applied to me. I am now amazed at how that statement shaped my life and my sense of purpose.

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Baby Steps: One Blade at a Time

Chapter 2

In the summer of 2008, we were in the midst of a second-year drought in California. One day, while walking through my 1940s neighborhood, I was amazed & encouraged to see that many homeowners had chosen to transform their yard space into attractive, water-conserving, & eco-friendly yards. They became the inspiration for this book. Other residents were choosing to turn off the tap to conserve water, simply allowing their front lawns to turn brown.

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Design Principles: Bring out Your Inner Picasso!

Chapter 4

Many people know what they like and don't like, but they struggle with redesigning their gardens. Indeed, numerous yards across America demonstrate a re-do gone bad. Often, well intended but uninformed homeowners purchase their favorite plants at the nursery, knowing neither garden design theory nor how and where to place them. It can be a frustrating experience and certainly does not motivate one to jump in and attempt to make radical changes to the front yard.

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Your Personal Oasis: Choose Your Plants

Chapter 6

In college, a new world opened up to me. I took a plant identification class and discovered for the first time the names of the plants I grew up with. It was like meeting old friends—the little shrub with the blue berries and pink flowers, the big shrub that was my refuge when I played hide 'n' seek, the narcissus bulbs my mother had planted before I was born that came up year after year, and that one shrub with the lavender flowers that always had ants all over it.

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Time to Get Dirty! Installation and Maintenance

Chapter 8

I remember talking to a friend after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. This 7.1 temblor shook us hard and left us feeling disoriented and shell-shocked. My friend experienced an amazing reaction that she described as primal and instinctive: after she caught her breath, she went outside and felt a compelling urge to put her hands in the soil and plant in her garden. I've noticed something magical about working in the garden.

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Contact Us

Sarah Sutton
1700 Shattuck Avenue, #87
Berkeley, California 94709
Telephone: 510-685-0021

 

Resources

Visit Sarah's selected resources for ideas, inspiration and regional information on planting, planning and more...