Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

New shaded parking area eats up tons of lawn and is so functional!

We lacked parking in the back for our guests.  No one could park in the driveway without blocking in the garage.  It was annoying, but would be even more annoying when the kids are driving so I wanted to take care of that now and create a useful spot to park.  The other thing is that we always had to back out of the garage/driveway into the alley.  Now we have a place to turn the car around and drive out frontwards which seems like no big deal but it is SO NICE to not have to back out such a long distance.Right side of backyard beforeBEFORE: Side yard that was never utilized for anything except storing junk.future parking areaI should not say that, it was used to store kids paraphernalia and for wildflowers.  The wildflower area was a pretty stop-gap but it did not provide the function we needed. wasted side yard spaceHere is looking the other way toward my bamboo muhly grass/color guard yucca lane.dig it doooownYou need to dig down parking areas at least 5 plus inches.  Isn’t this bobcat a beautiful sight!?  Was to me.  No diamonds for this girl…it would be fun to drive one of these, eh?  I should have asked!baseThen you need several inches of base – this is NOT fun.  It is dusty, disgusting to breathe, heavy and …a chalky mess that blows into the air at the slightest breeze.  I have been advised that it is imperative in parking areas though.  Apparently, it is the base that provides the solid layer for vehicle parking so you don’t sink.lay it down thickYou need to put several inches down.Roberto working hard!Do yourself a favor and get help with this stage so you can get it down, and cover it up quick.  The sooner you are done with this stage the better!  Did I mention how messy this stuff is?! looking rightThen your granite layer finishes it off nicely.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.looking left We built a little path and platform for the kiddos to visit with the neighbour kids.  They love to chat in the hedge and we could not keep them from sitting in the dirt there chatting.  So we made an opening and re-purposed stepping stones to make an area that is functional and cleaner for them.Looking right at another angleSoon we will build the modern shed where the photinia hedge is so we can back up to fuel with bio-diesel easier.Our dueling tanksI think we could do three cars here if needed…but certainly two very easily.

You could adapt this for the front of your home too if you did not adore parking on the street.  It is nice to have your cars, and those of your family members or guests, tucked away safely on your property.

Next up:  What I did with all that dirt dug up for the parking area!


  1. Interesting on the base front. I have laid lots of driveways (including my own) with DG and never used any base material at all. I usually put the granite down, drive around on the DG for half an hour with my truck (you could use a roller of course, but a truck is a lot less work :-) then add another thick layer when it has been compacted. A little more rolling around on it and it is done. If you are on a slope you can also add a little concrete mix into the DG to ensure it will stick.
    Your new parking area looks great…so much nicer and way more function than turf. Great work!


    • Great advice – thank you. I was urged by a few on the base and I took that advice to heart. Don’t even ask me about the vehicle that sunk in our clayey soil this winter. EEK! I wanted to make sure I had a solid and hard surface. I did the car thang too…after rolling was done – the roller SUCKED! Totally sucked. I am looking forward to trying the addition of the concrete mix at some point down the road ESP, thanks for the tip. Your comments mean a lot coming from you!!!! Thanks for stopping in. -xericstyle – oh and P.S. I did like the fact that the base was cheaper than the DG…saved a few bucks too.

  2. Salma

    crazy! I can’t think of a world where I could have undertaken doing that stuff… Where did you learn how? It looks great, as always. I really love the peekaboo area for the kiddies, and it sets of the chickie coop nicely- it looks really cool!

    • Thanks so much :) “The how” was learned through mentorship I feel so lucky to have in my life….and reading until 3am most nights! Then I dove in and learned on the go. -xericstyle

  3. Salma

    ps. now I know why you’re never available to goof off! too busy moving mountains and beautifying the earth!

    • Ha! Such a busy season for sure! After family left, I needed to get to work before the heat sets in!!!! :) – xericstyle

  4. lesley.muir

    Love it!! Woweeeee!!

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  5. Salma

    pps- I’m available next time you need a hand shoveling and prepping… I’d consider it on the job training!

    • Awe! I’d never do that to ya gal! -xericstyle

  6. Desert Dweller

    Oh yeah, it keeps coming! I also used base course on a particularly busy driveway in valley clay soil back in ’97, and it’s still looking good and holding up…those ex-clients never maintain anything, so that says something. Good show!

  7. Thanks D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOooooooooooooo pleased you approve sensei! -xericstyle

  8. Great job!!! you are so right, the sight of a bobcat is precious! it means exciting things are about to happen!!!!

    • TOTALLY!!!!!! -xericstyle

    • It sure does and they sure did. Got worse there for several days before it got better that is for sure. But things are taking shape in this backyard….FINALLY! -xericstyle

  9. Great work Xeristyle! Don’t cars need such a lot of space! Christina

    • They sure do Christina – it is kind of annoying, eh?! Makes me think big cities have it right. Although, I would miss my car…I have to admit. -xericstyle

  10. I learned that base, and limestone dust, is cheaper than gravel too when Meredith undertook the path work in her garden. Smart to lay it first and then lay the gravel on top! http://www.greatstems.com/2010/08/garden-path-has-to-be-in-the-title.html

    • I also read it in your AMAZING book! :) Thanks for the reassurance – it is always nice to get even if it is too late to change it now. My dad SUNK in our yard and I wanted to make sure the pariking area was FIRM. -xericstyle

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