Showcasing Local Waterwise Lawn Conversions 

Story of 12 Latzer Crescent Waterwise Transformation

The Gates have been in their home 12 Latzer Crescent since 1988. A few years ago Shirley and Jim began to transform their front and back yards from what was mostly lawn, to grass-free landscapes.  Thanks to truckloads of free mulch and compost from the City of Brantford, they started transforming the perimeter of their property in the back yard and gradually worked their way inwards until all of the grass had been covered and low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants took root. 

Three years ago they decided to do the same with their weedy front yard.  In April of 2008, they covered the front yard with a winter’s worth of old newspapers (at least 7 layers thick) to kill off the weeds and whatever grass remained, and then covered it all with new top soil and mulch.  Shirley’s husband then threw a surprise party for her 50th birthday that summer, and, rather than gifts, asked the guests to bring perennials from their own gardens to share with her for their front garden.  Most of the plants in this garden are waterwise and Shirley fondly refers to it as her “Friendship Garden”. 

Not visible in the After photos are soaker hoses buried just below the mulch and connected to a series of rain barrels (obtained through the City’s rain barrel program).  The Gates also use compost bins (also thanks to the City’s compost bin program) to recycle kitchen and yard wastes to enrich their soil.  The Gates find that their gardens are now low maintenance and drought-tolerant and are very pleased with the results.

12 Latzer Crescent

Front Yard Before:

Front yard showing typical lawn and shrubs before waterwise landscape transformations

Front Yard After:

View of front yard showing pathway and perennials after installing waterwise landscape. Strip of grass belongs to neighbour Different view of front yard showing perennials and mulch next to driveway after installing waterwise landscape

A pea-gravel walkway runs through the garden, with a stepping-stone path towards the right side of the house, and several boulders and stones throughout. 

Please note: the grassy strip along the right side in the top left picture is the neighbour’s property

Waterwise plants in front yard include:

  • Blue Oat Grass
  • Karl Foerster grass
  • Bugleweed
  • Creeping Phlox
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Hens & Chicks
  • Mazus
  • Silver Mound
  • Speedwell
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Lavender
  • Coneflower
  • Iris
  • Bee Balm
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Columbine
  • Coralbells
  • Cranesbill
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hellebore
  • Hydrangea
  • Liatris
  • Pinks
  • Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Russian Sage
  • Sedum, Stonecrop
  • Thrift
  • Yarrow
  • Cotoneaster
  • Euonymus
  • Dwarf Blue Spruce
  • Blue Rug Juniper
  • Spirea.

Back Yard Before:

 Back yard with mostly grass, picnic table and bench before waterwise landscape transformation


Back Yard After:

Back yard after waterwise landscape installed with pathway through shrubs and perennials Another view of back yard after waterwise landscape was installed with no grass and lots of perennials

Waterwise plants in the backyard include:

  • Tall Fountain Grass
  • Potentilla
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Iris
  • Bee Balm
  • Coreopsis Tickseed
  • Cornflower
  • Evening Primrose
  • Peony
  • Forsythia
  • Blue Spruce
  • Rose of Sharon
  • White Pine
  • Service Berry. 

The back yard also includes a pond and waterfall, and three concrete stone patios connected by concrete stone or crushed-stone pathways.