Planting the Parking Strip

The city is turning our street into a bike boulevard and one thing we’ve been thinking about is how we might improve the view for cyclists. Our parking strip seemed the logical place to start since it looked so bad. (We were pretty much just mowing weeds.)


My parents had just removed the grass from their parking strip and replaced it with drought tolerant plants—and received a small check from the State of California for doing do. It looked so nice, we all decided they should have done it years ago.


Taking a page from them, we started digging up the grass. Unfortunately, I got sick and by the time I was better, the weeds had all grown back. After I dug them out a second time, we rolled out a weed barrier and covered the whole thing with mulch.


Everyone on our street decided that it already looked better.


We used a combination of purchased and found rocks and since our parking strip is much narrower than my folks so we didn’t need as many. I did find, though, that it’s really hard placing rocks in a way that looks random. My first attempt was a little sad.

IMG_9025The soil was a combination of clay and rocks—hence the proliferation of weeds—so I ended up digging out the clay where I wanted the plants and replacing it with potting soil. I planted sage and thyme so it would tie into the front beds and then added Johnson’s Blue Geraniums, pincushion flowers, and irises from my friend Susan and my grandmother (via my mom’s and my sister’s gardens).

I spent the entire weekend working on the new flower bed and I don’t think I’ve ever had as many people stop and ask me what my plans were. By Sunday, neighbors were driving by and giving me the thumbs up.

IMG_9040It’s very sparse but it won’t take long for everything to start growing. Even so, it already looks so much nicer than the weeds and we hope all the people biking down our street will enjoy it.

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