The urban meadow: For small, budget-conscious gardens
Landscape designer Sean Knibb believes in mixing up plants, flowers and vegetables.
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Sean Knibb at his garden.( Ann Johansson / For The Times )
Call it the modern urban meadow. After two decades of gardening, landscape designer Sean Knibb has come up with a formula for lush but water-wise, small-scale city gardens.
Lawns are replaced with gravel, concrete pavers and low, mounding grasses nestled among ornamental varieties such as paspalum, shown here, beneath the writing on the wall behind Knibb. Traditionally separated cutting beds, vegetable patches and herb gardens are abolished. Succulents, shrubs, such as the yellow milkweed (far right), flowers and edibles all mingle in the same beds.
"Part of the aesthetic is to capture the look of where prairie meets forest," Knibb says. "The layering that happens in nature is the coolest thing."
We recently toured three of Knibb's Los Angeles installations, each created from a palette of tough but showy plants and basic hardscape materials. Here, in the garden of his office and outdoor furniture showroom, Knibb sits on a slip-covered bale of hay that serves as a bench. (Keep clicking to see what he's done and close-up looks at some of the flowers.)