America's Most Desperate Landscape 2010: Landscape Tips for Weekly Winner 3

The third weekly winner is Michele Lewis of Hanover, NM, for her photos of a front yard that's nothing but bare dirt. Jason Cameron offers tips for turning this sad site into a beautiful front yard.


A house with large trees and a completely dirt front yard with stone edging

Jason Cameron's tips for Michele's front yard:

1. The first step to ending the desperation starts with the lattice across the front porch. Remove lattice panel, cut to size and reattach underneath the porch behind the porch framework. Stain lattice to match the porch framework, which will help make it blend in.

2. Purchase garden soil mix and raise the grade in front of the porch to cover the base stone. Create two planting beds on either side of the steps. Use drought-tolerant plants such as cup-leaf sage (Leucophylum zygophylum) or chaparral sage (Salvia clevelandii) to go across the front. Plant flowering groundcovers such as creeping rosemary(Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' and trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) on both sides of the steps. This will bring life to the area and visually reduce the height of the porch.

3. Remove the small lower branches of the tree to raise its canopy, and remove small branches inside the tree canopy. Together, this will allow filtered light to reach the porch and provide better views of the house.

4. Gather the small stones along the right of the steps and use to stop the erosion. Place the stones in the ditch and rake soil around stones. Re-grade the area, creating a gentle slope away from the house.

5. Finally, use granite fines mulch to cover the entire front area. The mulch will help to reduce future erosion and beautify the area.

As a weekly winner, Michele receives a $100 prize for

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