How to - Gardening Resources

A colourful, low-maintenance garden

Karen York
Photography by
Janis Nicolay

A British Columbia couple says goodbye to troublesome grass and hello to a low-maintenance garden rich with colour and texture.

One of the toughest things to grow on a slope, especially a sunny one, is lawn, as Beth and Don Cott discovered. “Over our 19 years here, we redid it three times,” says Beth of the front lawn that spanned the width of their North Saanich property just outside Victoria. But all their efforts were in vain. The grass simply languished.

Garden stats
Property is 30 by 50 metres; revamped front garden is 20 by 12 metres 
Zone: 7
Orientation: South
Age of garden: New front garden, five years; rest of gardens on property, 19 years
Conditions: Slope with thin, clay soil, full sun 
Growing season: Year-round
Focus: Deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, easy-care plants with all-season interest
Maintenance: A weekly visit by Island Horticultural Services for most of the year
Tip: Be diligent about deadheading enthusiastic self-seeders like euphorbias; it saves a lot of work down the road


To make a lawn story short, Sandra and Kevin Bunting of Island Horticultural Services came to the rescue. Beth says, “I gave Sandra the colours I liked, and I requested deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plants in an easy-care garden. Oh, and a pathway through it.” Sandra decided to run the path between an existing boulder-edged shrub border along the top and the new plantings below. To implement her vision, she brought in Jas Sidhu of JS Bobcat & Excavating, who slightly carved out the slope and installed the pathway and later did the rock work.

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