Portola Way couple will have to wait to show off garden, remodeled kitchen

By Kimberley Bond

Kris and David Backus, residents of Portola Way for more than 22 years, were excited to show off their garden and newly remodeled kitchen on this year’s Home and Garden Tour. Alas, the tour has been postponed to April 24, 2021, because of the current health crisis.

In October 2017, they removed the turf and shrubs from their front yard. A Mediterranean landscape that better reflected the architecture of their home was planted.

The impetus for this change was to reduce their water use, create a low-maintenance garden, and take advantage of Sacramento’s Water Wise Rebate Program. All three were accomplished.

Kris and David are not gardeners; Kris says she has a “purple thumb.”

So when it came time to choose the appropriate low-maintenance plants and design the space, a landscaper was hired.

They wanted a number of ornamental grasses, a specimen tree and a sitting area. Again, all three were accomplished.

They have more than 20 different plants in the new landscape. Some of their favorites are the yarrow with large garnet flower heads, the coral bark maple with contrasting chartreuse green leaves, the barberry with orange-red foliage and a flax with its dark, arching leaves.

“He is happy as can be,” Kris said of the flax. She’s fond of the plants received from friends and neighbors, such as a miniature rose and an orange clivia that is thriving in its new location.

Another aspect of the landscape they love is the increased activity of the bees, especially on the dwarf pomegranate and the violet flowering germander, which is great for rock gardens.

Most of their time in the yard is spent relaxing in the sitting area. “What’s cool about it is it gets us out here,” said Kris. “We realized how much interaction we have with neighbors who are walking by. Some will stop and chat.”

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