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[personal profile] mahogany
I'm going to try to convince my dh that we should get rid of our lawn. I've never been a fan, and I've decided that this might be the year that we get rid of it.

I'm thinking of overseeding my lawn with a wildflower mix with flowers that are native to the pacific northwest, with some extra fragrant flowers thrown in.

[Poll #1713216]

Date: 2011-03-04 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A couple of weekends ago we built 3 raised beds for veggies that cover the entire front lawn. The backyard has terrible sun exposure, and it's not the kind of road frontage where we want to be hanging out and having BBQs and drinks in the front anyways.

I'm pretty anti-lawn in a general sense, prolly from my small farm upbringing. I see a lawn and think there should at least be a goat grazing on it or something productive like that. Pasture (wild grasses, wildflowers, etc) I'm OK with. All that energy and resources going into artificially maintaining astroturf looking stuff, not so much.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I meant to ask, and forgot - what did you use for building the beds? Untreated cedar fencing planks? I read somewhere that they were easier to work with, and reasonably priced (both requirements for me). We need to make some too, and pronto. I got a great deal on some everbearing strawberry plants, and I need to have the beds ready in less than two weeks. Eek.

Also, where did you buy your soil?

As you have probably noticed, I do things backward - like, ordering plants, and then worrying about creating the raised beds. I also ordered a bunch of heirloom seeds, which arrived two weeks ago, but have I started sprouting them inside? Better question, do I even have the peat pots for starting them?

Sigh...I don't know how serious gardeners do it. Honestly. This whole thing is mystifying and overwhelming to me.

Date: 2011-03-04 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, untreated cedar planks. They are very expensive compared to either treated wood or spruce or fir, but I didn't want treated wood for food growing, and cedar is so much more rot resistant than any other wood.

We ended up going the more expensive but hopefully more durable route and got 1 5/8" X 6" X 12ft decking boards (as opposed to 1" thick fencing). We used 4X4s for the corner posts, but that was overkill and we definitely could have gotten away with 2X4s. The 12ft boards were perfect for our project- three 12X4 beds, so the lengths were full boards and the short sides were just boards cut into thirds. We got everything cut to measure right at Home Depot, which saved us a ton of time and work. So, 2 planks high for 12inch total depth, all screwed into the posts with 3" and 4" screws. Those suckers are better built and with better materials than pretty much every piece of furniture in our house!

We're getting our soil from these guys this weekend:

I didn't do the research on that- Paul and I handled the beds, my sister is in charge of the soil :)

You need to ask someone else about the seeds- I never do my own seedlings. I either buy them ready to plant, or do things I can plant directly outside.

Don't sweat it- put in what you can when you can. In Edmonton we never started until 3rd week of May, and even though lots of people here start earlier than that, my personal gardening guru here never plants until May either.

Date: 2011-03-04 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hate grass. it's probably foreign to where we live, anyway. and we go out of our way to grow it jsut so we can chop it's heads off all the time. :P

the house we're trying to get has half the lawn bricked. it's ugly, but we're not gonna rip it up or anything. just put some huge planters there. as for the other half... we'll think of something. if we get the stupid house, that is.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
House hunting is so stressful. It's exciting, but stressful.

Date: 2011-03-04 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm allergic as hell to grass, so I'm all for getting rid of it. Not sure how well succulents would do in your neck of the woods, unless you like mossy covered rocks. (Which could be cool, too, in a kind of minimalist Japanese way.)

Might want to check with local ordinances. The neighbors across from us put in a huge, way cool garden in their front lawn and had to rip it all out due to city ordinances.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
On the upside, I live in an older neighbourhood that's not architecturally controlled, so I can probably get away with more. On the downside, I think there are a couple of busybodies on my street.

Date: 2011-03-04 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hate grass and love succulents and cacti. However I don't know how they would fare in your part of the world. As such, I elect for a rock garden with a few nice trees thrown in.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah. I really love the look of the hen and chicks, but they'll probably drown in the winter. Ah well.

I absolutely love rock and tree gardens. The only problem is that they aren't exactly cheap to do properly.

Date: 2011-03-04 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Plant veggies! Or herbs!!

Date: 2011-03-04 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, I think our minds are on a similar track. I was researching rosemary hedges a couple of hours ago to see how they would fare in this climate. I think it would smell nice, and because of the way our property slopes down from the street, it would actually provide a fair amount of privacy even though it doesn't grow all that high.

Date: 2011-03-04 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lemon balm is another very hardy nice smelling shrub. Sage too!

Date: 2011-03-04 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I vote for wildflower lawn but I am a tree hugging hippy. I wrote advocating clover lawns here. We've been letting our grass turn into wildflower lawns through natural selection. We don't apply weedkiller or water the lawn and it is now mainly clover and moss. I think if I was somewhere a bit more permanently I'd have some clover lawn with lots of bulbs growing through, which I cold use for cut flowers.

Date: 2011-03-04 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Love your icon! I'm a tree hugging hippy too!

Funny you should mention clover. The thing that got me on to this whole alternative lawn thing in the first place was an article in a gardening magazine talking about ground covers. It talked about how clover used to be included in lawn seed mixtures because of its nitrogen fixing properties and drought resistance. It stopped being included when a herbicide manufacturer created a weedkiller that also killed off clover. So in order to get this stuff on the market, clover had to be declared a weed, and it was removed from lawn seed mixes. I just about fell out of my chair.

All summer long, I had a long standing argument with my husband. Our back yard is filled with clover, and in the summer, it was lush and green, even though it's south facing, and received tons of direct, punishing sunlight, and our front lawn is a monoculture that turned a hideous brown. Blech. My husband was on my case about spreading the clover because I insisted that we by a reel lawn mower instead of a gas or electric one with a bag, and so every time I mowed the lawn I was spreading more clover.

Date: 2011-03-04 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Really piss the neighbors off - get a couple of goats. They'll eat the clover, keep the lawn trrimmed, and be good for meat and/or milk (depending on which sort you get) if and when TSHTF.

Date: 2011-03-04 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure if goats are allowed in our city, but I do know that bees are allowed. Chickens are allowed in certain in the GVRD, but not mine, unfortunately, though I believe the approval is in the works. If we had a slightly bigger place, and my husband wasn't completely bee phobic, I would consider bees. Oddly enough, city bees are healthy and not prone to colony collapse, or so I've read.

Date: 2011-03-04 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Re: My "Other" answer on #2: I wouldn't be worried that the wildflowers would invade my grass; I'd be hoping.

Date: 2011-03-04 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL! I've been reading up on them, and apparently, they're more fragile than they seem. As it turns out, they wouldn't be able to invade an established lawn that has rye fescue in it (which pretty much all of ours lawns have), so my neighbours lawns will be safe. This also means that to create my wildflower meadow, I will have to cut out our existing turf. I can't just overseed :-(

A lot of work, yes, but not the hardest part by any means. The hardest part is bringing dh on board. At present, he is vehemently opposed to the idea.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I say grow food.

Date: 2011-03-04 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In the front? I'm probably going to plant rosemary as a hedge, but I'm not sure about growing food in the front. Besides, the back is south facing, and thus better suited to food, no?

Date: 2011-03-05 08:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My friend Heather is the horticulturalist who introduced me to Scott, and she grows lots in her front garden. Large purple-tinted leaf cabbage is attractive, as are pumpkin and zucchini plants as bedding.

Date: 2011-03-05 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It isn't an "eyesore" persay, and I wouldn't be furious, but I think it tends to look "rundown" and like the person who owns the house has not taken care of their lawn and has let it become overgrown. So tho the concept is inspiring, and beautiful, and flowers in, and of, themselves are beautiful, it would end up not coming across that way. Does that make sense?

Date: 2011-03-05 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It totally makes sense. It's moot point anyway because as I wrote above, dh is 90% against the idea. I am allowed one little trial patch in the back yard to see how it looks, so I guess I have a small window of opportunity to show that it can look great. I am looking at a wildflower mix that's pretty much exclusively flowers, which I'll sow densely. I'm choosing low growing varieties that have mounding habits to give the whole thing a more deliberate look, as the taller varieties do tend to look haphazard if spread over an entire front lawn.

We are painting the house red over the summer, so I'm hoping that the overall look of the house will give us a bit more wiggle room to be playful with the yard.

I must get rid of this lawn. I must. The European chafer beetles are a huge problem here. Beneficial nematodes don't work, unfortunately. Really, there are only three solutions: - Live with a lawn perpetually looks like crap because animals and birds are ripping it to shreds to get at the grubs.
- Spray the entire lawn. Every. Single. Year. Preferably twice a year, to kill off the grubs.
- Get rid of the lawn.

Over the winter, we live with the eyesore that is option 1. Last year, we went with option 2, which I really hated, and don't want to do again. The only permanent solution that I see, is some form of option 3, and I'd like to do it sooner than later.

Since you checked off other, I'm curious to know, what would you put in the front if you wanted to get rid of your lawn?

Date: 2011-03-05 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It can make you look like a crazy person who's let their lawn go to seed if it's not done right, and doing it right sometimes involves as much maintenance time as landscaped gardens.

In my view what we need to do is create gardens that welcome biodiversity and flowers for bees. Some bee flowers are big purple spray-up bushes, there are thousands of wee purple flowers. We all need to do our part for the bees!

As for the landscaping, please remember this: you are in an enviable position. You're in a habitat zone that can grow fantastic things, lovely, and wherever you are you have options. Rain gardens are beautiful - most Dutch gardens are these work of art gardens for rainy locales.

Gardening is an opportunity to involve your kids in connecting with life and the land, the gift of God, observational fun, caretaking-learning, research.

Whatever you do, get rid of the lawn, but landscape it with lots of green plants, because this should be relatively easy for you and has wonderful benefits. Weeding is relaxing.

Throw in a blackberry and a raspberry bush. Grow some peas and carrots.

Can you tell I'm a *little* bit into gardening right now? :)
Edited Date: 2011-03-05 08:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-06 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As you will see when you come to visit, last year I planted some blueberry, some oregon grape (which isn't actually tasty, but it does has some wicked medicinal properties), and some raspberries. This year's project involves heirloom veggies and melons. I have the stuff sitting there waiting to be started, but we need to make the beds first. Our backyard is south facing, and perfect for growing veggies. The problem is that previous owners' idea of landscaping was lawn and bark mulch. So everywhere we don't have lawn, we have bark mulch. Seriously, what the hell? Since the areas that have bark mulch don't have any foot traffic, we're building planters.

I was reading about the wild flowers, and yeah, it's not easy. There's a spot in the back where I can't really plant much because it backs onto the alley, and it's just bark mulch over concrete (gag!). I think I'll have my hands busy with the other areas, that I won't be able to handle more veggies, so I'm hoping to have the energy to experiment with wildflowers there to see how they would look. I would choose only low growing varieties that have mounding habits to make it look more groomed. Other things that I was considering for the front are low creeping thyme, which will smell amazing, or non-flowering chamomile which will also smell amazing. I briefly considered corsican mint, but I think our front gets too much sun, ironically enough.
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