Before & After: Beth Grows Green Circle of Xeric Grasses

November 6, 2023

Beth at Grows Green is a very talented designer, and I love seeing the evolution and growth of her designs. This Backyard garden started with literally nothing. It was flat and boring, and there wasn’t a tree or shrub in sight. But there did seem to be an odd concrete circle…

(As a designer, you just never know what you will find in a garden… surprises all the time!).

the before of a very empty garden

Using what was already there

This garden’s brief included working with the existing concrete circle.  (removing concrete can be a costly PITB but also adds waste).

So Beth and her clients made a plan to not only embrace the existing circle – but to add more circles.  

The immediate ‘After’ of the garden is okay – sometimes you need to have some vision when looking at a bunch of baby plants. It can be hard to see where it will be in a couple of years when it is mature. 

But when you see what all those little grasses matured into – it is simply breathtaking.

using the existing circle paving in a new xeric garden
just planted a new circle garden with grasses
I love the idea of planting one taller or differenlty textured grass among a circle of a different type of grass. This play on texture seems fun and worth experimenting with.

Adding texture with xeric grasses

I love the Aeonium ‘Zwartkop,’ the structural euphoria, and the flowing xeric grasses.  Beth says her favorite color is texture, and in this garden, it shows.

The circles have mellowed, and the plants have filled in to create a simple and striking design. This is a great example of how a very simple plant palette can still be bold and interesting. I estimate there are less than a dozen different plants in this scheme – but it is still exciting (and also it doesn’t have any flowers).

The varied paving materials work really well to give this design even more interest. Changing textures of surfaces is a great way to not only define spaces without using walls, but it make sure a simple design has enough contrast to draw attention.

a xeric garden of grasses and circles
grasses circles and aeonium make an exicting xeric landscape
Once established grasses have deep roots that allow them to be very drought tolerant. they are a great addition to a xeric garden.

If you are looking to create a sleek and modern design that is also waterwise in an arid climate – this is a perfect garden to study and gather ideas from. You’d be wise to deep dive through Beth Mullin’s whole website – she has many exciting projects that are typically around the San Francisco, California, area where her design practice is located.

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  1. CiCi Baker says:

    I have Arboreum Aeonium that got exposed to an unexpected frost. It is wilted, but center of rosette is alive. Do I remove/clip the wilted stems to try to revive the plant?

    • rochelle says:

      i would remove the stuff that is bad…it probably isn’t going to come back. I once nearly drowned aeonium — they don’t recover fast, but give it time.

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