Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Xeriscape Garden’s “Avery Ranch Garden Tour”

This past weekend a friend of mine Bob Beyer hosted the Avery Ranch Garden tour of homes (Not open to the public though it would be cool to do so) where 10 homes (mine being one of them) were featured to focus on the recent changes in the HOA guidelines.  Avery Ranch HOA created a “Variance” that now allows our nearly 3500 residents to add as much as 75% Xerophytic garden in our front yards, leaving only 25% sod and 100 % Xeriscape in the back yard if desired.  This is a HUGE leap forward for HOA’s and I want to give my hard working HOA board a pat on the back for using their heads in this struggling Central Texas landscape.  As fresh water becomes more scarce on the planet and people are looking for better ways to be conservative, we need to allow them to do so with certain guidelines and restrictions.

Why Certain Guidelines and restrictions?  Why not everyone just put down concrete or rock in the front yard and call it a day?  First of all it’s ugly, secondly it is hot as hell.  Rock and concrete permeate and radiate heat and the look of a yard like El Paso, (No offence) or even Arizona is not what the landscape in Austin Texas Warrants.  We are just outside of the Hill Country and if any of you have visited our beautiful part of the state, you would know we are not in the desert.  This is a lush forested area of trees and native plants, lakes (what is left of them) and our Xerophytic landscapes should mirror that.  We are also in an area where our average yearly rainfall is about 26-30 inches give or take and if you ck out the annual records you can see that it changes vastly from year to year meaning what ?(  It is unpredictable…as our temperatures rise and they have been over the last several years, we will continue to struggle with water hogging sods so it is time to make a change and that begins in bite sized pieces for most people.

If you are a fan of sod, have an intentional lawn, not an ocean of lawn you cannot afford to water, if you are blessed and can “afford” it financially, you have to realize you cannot afford it morally.  One of my favorite quotes is a Native American saying that “We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children”.  This in the simplest terms is how we must think of how we manage the land we are fortunate to have.  We need to be responsible Stuarts and consider that as much as 60% of our national drinking water (not used in agriculture) is going to water GRASS!  When is the last time you sat down to a delicious plate heaping high with lawn clippings…Mmmm, doesn’t that sound delicious?  The garden you will see in my video below is over 50% edible, so not only is it water wise and lovely (if I do say so myself), it is also for the most part…Delicious 😉  Now I will not mislead you that edible plants require the same water as a native plant you find in the woods, but they take a heck of a lot less than sod and the reward is infinitely greater!

Now go get your garden on!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design                                                                                                                                                                         

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check out my other video’s on YouTube!!


  1. Glad I found your blog…nice and I can’t wait to read the past posts. Right you are, and working in El Paso and living/working in Albuquerque, I’m mystified that anyone in Austin and far to the west can even remotely think they are in the desert. The change in the guidelines of your HOA makes some sense, but hopefully that 75% in the front yard is more informed as you are implying, not rock and concrete, with some poorly-used desert plants. I hope that is just a trendy fad, and look forward to seeing if Austin can pull this shift off?

    • David, thank you for your comments. I am working hard to help people understand the need for a change and am hopeful. We have a long way to go but I am excited by the opportunty to be part of the movement in Austin.

  2. Venu

    I wonder if we could even include fruit trees and vegetable gardening in the garden? Are we permitted to do that? If so how much?

    • Venu, you can absolutely include food in front as long as it is in a flower bed. I have food in every single bed in my yard though it is disguised as Landscape planting.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: