Lawns Are What You Make Them


Our kids in Arizona have the same sort of lawn  all their neighbors keep. When a blade of grass springs up, it’s yanked out by the roots, along with other undisciplined seedlings that dare to show their heads. No one owns a mower, but occasionally people use a rake to tidy the yard. In some yards, you’ll even see signs like the one above.

Arizona son-in-law Steve weeding his “lawn.”

  Here in Washington, keeping one’s yard blanketed with velvety-smooth, emerald green grass can occupy hours each week. During warm winters, rain pours down and the grass keeps growing. So do moss and weeds. While it‘s still winter, the mowings begin. Then come applications of moss and weed killers. The grass must be fertilized, triggering even more frequent mowing. It’s a process that continues through summer and fall. Some neighbors are still cutting grass at Thanksgiving.

  That’s why we took out the largest part of our lawn several years ago. We installed native plants instead to cut back on upkeep and provide food and habitat for birds. It worked very well…too well, in fact. Now we have a “forest” in our front yard. Hank prunes back shrubs and digs out runaway plants instead of mowing lawn.
Son Rob and the native plants he planted for us a few years ago. Now trees hide the buildings behind him.

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