Xeric Families of the West

  • Top to Bottom: Harold and Joan Leinbach, Gary Reed and Barb Pullin, Rob and Julie DeLuca, Mark and Evelyn Polando and daughter Zoe

    Paul Bousquet

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "The Lure of the Lawn."

Harold and Joan Leinbach

First, it was floods, which left 10 inches of water standing in Harold and Joan Leinbach’s Boulder yard — and seeping under their foundation — in the spring of 1995. Then it was drought, which finished off their front lawn. Their solution: A xeric landscape they say is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Now that the plants in the yard are established, they expect natural rainfall, which averages about 18 inches annually, will keep their yard growing.

Gary Reed and Barb Pullin

Gary Reed and Barb Pullin’s Denver front yard is a berm covered with succulents, which they can enjoy from a garden bench. The other side of their drive could be mistaken for a lush bluegrass lawn, but the native blue grama grass is also xeric; it needs sprinkling just four or five times a summer.

Rob and Julie DeLuca

Rob and Julie DeLuca inherited a lavishly Xeriscaped yard when they purchased their suburban Denver home in 2001, including a field of red poppies that had motorists stopping to pull out their cameras. Flagstone paths wind around two ponds — one for koi, one for goldfish. The DeLucas estimate there were 250 plants when they moved in, and they’ve added more favorites since.

Mark and Evelyn Polando

Mark Polando jokes that his family went xeric because he’s lazy: "I can mow our entire turf in less than 15 minutes," he says. But the landscape they installed in 2002 has some serious benefits: Lilacs, Russian sage, English lavender and echinacea in their front yard provide privacy for their house, and a patio at the street provides both a place for the family to greet friends and a resting place for neighbors out on a stroll. Mark and Evelyn Polando are shown here with daughter Zoe.

This story is a sidebar to the feature:

The Lure of the Lawn

It’s not easy to wean Westerners away from their lush, traditional, turfgrass lawns, but with drought an increasing fact of life, Xeriscape gardening is finally catching on

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