While the front garden increases the curb appeal of the Shotgun House and the beauty of a highly-trafficked commercial area, it is much more than a pretty face.
The garden’s hardscape is minimal, but impactful. The ADA compliant brick path is free of mortar, so water can slip between the bricks and be cleansed by soil and foliage before it joins the big blue. There is also a mini-bed between the path and the deck, giving water a more direct route into the ground. Full of fragrant Coyote Mint (Monardella villosa), it could be mistaken for simple beautification.
The purple pom-pom blooms of Coyote Mint are always a hit with kids!
Mid-height foliage creates definition between the neighbors’ drive and the Shotgun House property. Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens) and California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) make lovely border-area companions.
In the front garden, mid-height Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescent) defines a boundary and provides privacy. In the side garden, it serves as a charming companion for plants with dark green and silver foliage.
Feathery, silver-green California Sagebrush adds height, texture, and levity to the north side of the front garden. Sagebrush is a great plant to use when to discourage traffic or create a boundary.
Just to the south of the historic marker, river rock surrounds an almost imperceptible divot in the garden’s topography. That simple indentation is a bioswale, which also directs water into the ground.
Common Yarrow and Buckwheat
Between the historic marker and raised signage, eye-poppingly colorful California native Yarrows (Achillea millefolium), Zauschernia (Epilobium canum), Milkweed, Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens) and Coyote Mint (Monardella villas) create playspace for birds and butterflies.
Common Yarrow is kept at meadow height, so its feathery foliage is topped with charming blooms. If mowed, Yarrow provides a brilliantly beach-appropriate lawn alternative.
Yellow Yarrow joins its companions, White Yarrow, Zauschnernia and Coyote Mint in the front garden. (Note: This yarrow is not native.)
Zauschnernia’s fire-red blooms steal the show in the front garden.
Coyote Mint scents the air to the south of the Shotgun House, whether or not it is bursting with spring blooms. It can also be found near the sign and in the bed between the walkway and front porch.
The glossy green, silver-backed leaves of Red Buckwheat continue to charm when its pom-pom blooms disappear.
As the garden has matured, it adds to the charm of the architecture, surrounding the Shotgun House with color, life, energy and vitality.
Home and garden now offer Santa Monica residents examples of architectural conservation and authentic ocean-friendly gardening.
The garden was young when the Preservation Resource Center opened in January of 2016.