WOW, those are ugly landscapes, what horrible landscaper takes care of them? Before you pick on Pacific, or any landscaper for conditions like this, consider that due to site conditions including poor soil, tree roots and hot exposures, some lawns are impossible to keep looking good. These pictures are extreme versions of "Where lawn shouldn't be" but most properties have similar issues, especially if the landscape is maturing.
Tree Roots Win
Many of the problem areas "Where lawn should not be" is due to root competition. Trees in parking islands and parking strips have limited area for roots to grow. These locations are already difficult to keep irrigated as they are surrounded by asphalt and sidewalks and the soil level is often thin and full of construction debris and gravel. As trees mature, they win in competition for the soil and moisture. As seen in the pictures above, tree roots can be massive, and outcompete lawn roots.
We have been working to develop alternatives to lawns for these areas. Above are several examples. We have used river rock in many as it provides an attractive groundcover while requiring little to no water. We have had several clients concerned about the liability or rock but know of no examples where rock in these areas was used to cause property damage.
Pacific Parking Strip Renovation
Over the years, we have used our Hillsboro Facility as a testing ground for new landscape elements and plants. This past spring, we used our struggling parking strip as a test ground for lawn elimination and replacement. We had the typical struggling lawn being outcompeted by the tree roots of the street trees. We had been irrigating this lawn with 4-5 times as much water as the lawn across the sidewalk and it still didn't look good. Expensive water waster and not attractive. The tree roots were also starting to lift the sidewalk, causing a hazard.
We performed a total renovation, This included removal of the lawn and trees. When we replanted new trees, we installed root barriers around the root ball to keep the roots from growing under the sidewalk in the future. We planted several drought tolerant plants and converted the irrigation to drip. We then placed a few boulders and large river rock as a ground cover. We think this is a good alternative to lawn, looks good, and requires little irrigation which will save significant dollars over time.
We are working on several alternatives to lawn where lawn shouldn't be and are recommending these to clients. We love lawn and think it is a good landscape element if placed where it's possible to be maintained and irrigated effectively over the long haul. As your Landscape Asset Manager, we will help you evaluate your site and replace lawn where lawn shouldn't be. The result will be water savings and a more attractive, sustainable landscape.