Deep into a drought and faced with tough water restriction rules, more and more green lawns are turning brown or into something all together different as homeowners struggle with how to conserve water. The private lawn has always been the purview of the homeowner but the parkway is different. This small sliver of space between the street and the sidewalk, that legally belongs to the city but with shared maintenance with the homeowner, is the connective tissue that runs through all our neighborhoods.
All the neighborhoods in the Larchmont Village area — Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont Village, Fremont Place, Brookside, La Brea Hancock, Windsor Village, Wilshire Park, etc. share a similar parentage. All were developed in the early 1910s-1920s with an idealized image of the good life of single family homeownership. Developers and builders at the time sought to create neighborhoods with sidewalks in a park-like setting that would look enough like the their east inspirations to lure new buyers but offer all the benefit of the mild southern California climate. Trees and grass were planted to connect the yards knitting neighbors together and provide a calm, lush setting for walking dogs, riding bikes and otherwise enjoying life. The plan worked beautifully, neighborhoods sprung up all around the Larchmont area and the city’s population soared to over 1.3 million people, a ten-fold increase from 1900.
As homeowners rip out the grass and replace it with all manner of plants, the result is an interruption in that continuos ribbon. Where there was once uniformity, there is now an eclectic melange of solutions to landscaping for curb appeal while adapting to drier conditions and strict water conservation rules.
How do we preserve our park-like heritage with thoughtful, sustainable landscaping that looks great and makes sense in the context of historic homes? The Buzz is very interested in how homeowners and garden designers are responding.
Below are solutions we’ve seen in the neighborhood. What do you think? We’d like to hear from you, what are you doing in your parkway?