Drive-By Gardens: Sedge lawn with irises


I spotted this lawn-gone front garden in West Austin’s Tarrytown neighborhood in early April and have been eager to share it with you. Tufty sedges — Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa), perhaps? — grow in place of traditional lawn grass for a meadowy look that softens the angular lines of this contemporary home.


Seasonal color comes from pockets of iris, which were blooming a month ago when I took this photo. In summer it appears that shrub roses take over. I’ll have to return in a few months for another look.

All I can say is, I wish my own Berkeley sedge lawn looked this full and lush. I’m still waiting for it to fill in. I’ll have another update on its progress soon.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

17 Responses

  1. TexasDeb says:

    Gorgeous! I want to run my hands through that sedge. After the blooms are spent the strappy iris leaves will still provide neat punctuation (along with the broad leafed plants – are those mullein?). I do hope you’ll get back to catch the roses in turn – I can’t get enough. My sedge areas continue to putter along – they are in a lot of shade and get little to no supplemental water so I ought not complain. (and yet I just did…)

  2. Rachelle says:

    That is a very well-done landscaping! Please post when roses are in bloom! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lori says:

    Oh, I love it. It’s so simple and calming and low-maintenance.

  4. Kris P says:

    Very nice. I’m looking for an alternative to the conventional lawn (currently more dead than alive) below our Magnolia at the front of our house. A sedge like might be a good choice – I’m also starting to think semi-seriously about artificial turf. Although the latter doesn’t need any water, I can’t get over the fact that it contributes nothing to the ecosystem.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I know what you mean, Kris. I do like faux lawn for certain applications, like around the outdoor lunch tables in a courtyard at my son’s high school, where grass could never be kept alive. But for a home garden, unless needed for children, I’d be more inclined to go with a living low groundcover. Maybe sedge will work for your magnolia. Magnolias can be so thirsty here I often suggest just mulching under the drip zone so they don’t have to compete with a groundcover for water. —Pam

  5. Great idea…and great composition!

  6. R. Taylor says:

    Perfect. I’m trying to install a sedge lawn in my back yard right now–Webberville sedge is what I’m considering. Unfortunately the two landscapers I’ve talked to so far looked at me as if I had two heads. I don’t suppose you can recommend someone?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      You’re looking for installation help? Yeah, a regular landscaping contractor is probably not going to be familiar with using sedges. You may have to hire a designer/installer and pay a little more in order to get someone knowledgeable. Check with Philip Leveridge of Leveridge Landscape Design. —Pam

  7. Very pretty and so well suited to the house. Love that bench near the front door too.

  8. Shirley says:

    I like this look with the sedge headed in different directions and heights. The iris, roses, and other plants keep it looking intentional.

    Sedge does seem to take forever to establish. Can’t wait to see how yours is progressing.

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